The Chargers are set to open up their 2020 campaign against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon. After a disappointing 2019, LA comes into this year with much higher hopes and expectations after making changes up and down their roster.
Given that this will be the first look at the post-Phillip Rivers era for the Chargers, let’s look at three keys for them to secure their first victory.
3. Put Pressure on Cincinnati’s O-Line
The Bengal’s offensive line will be a work in progress this year. With so many young and inexperienced faces, there’s a reason that they rank near the bottom of the league in so many polls. The first step in securing a win to open the 2020 season will be to exploit this young group and take away any extra time for Joe Burrow to make a decision in the pocket.
The Chargers had a top 3 defense coming into the season before the injury to safety Derwin James, but that loss shouldn’t take away from the rest of the group. From the D-line to the secondary, this is a defense that will make big plays all season long. A Week 1 matchup against a weak offensive line should let us see right away how potent this group can still be.
2. Contain One of Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins
You’ll notice that we’re focusing most of the attention on the Chargers’ defense. As their biggest strength on paper, this will be the side of the line that determines the outcome of Sunday’s matchup. Joe Burrow may be a rookie, but he has two excellent weapons in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Boyd was a 1,000-yard receiver last season and Higgins will be their prized rookie draft pick to complement him. This isn’t even taking into account AJ Green, who is hoping for a comeback season. In order to keep the Bengals off the board, LA will have to neutralize at least one of them to limit Burrow’s options.
1. A Confident Tyrod Taylor
This will be the first season since 2006 that the Chargers have a new quarterback leading their offense. And while Taylor has had some experience with this group coming into the year, the pressure to succeed has never been greater. With Justin Herbert waiting on the sidelines for the slightest sign that he can’t handle the job, it will be up to Taylor to put those thoughts out of his head and just play.
The Chargers offense will definitely go through some growing pains this season, but the weapons are there for Taylor to use. If he can give LA some leadership and poise at QB, this game won’t even be close.
When: Sunday, September 13th @ 4:05 ET
Where to watch: CBS