Sep 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) reacts after a penalty was called against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
2. Bengals D-Line vs. Chargers O-Line
The outcome of this game could come down to a battle of the trenches–which is exactly what Cincinnati wants. The Bengals have the superior offensive line and defensive line, but the Bengals’ defensive line is the unit to keep an eye on.
Cincinnati racked up two sacks against the Raiders last week; Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap were the two players to bring the Raiders’ quarterbacks down after I specifically identified their key matchup against the right side of the Raiders’ offensive line. Atkins and Dunlap were dominant all game long, and you can see video of the two players blasting through Oakland’s line here.
This week, it’s a similar story. The right side of San Diego’s line is weak, which is great news for the Bengals. With Chargers right guard D.J. Fluker ruled out, Chris Hairston will start in Fluker’s place. The thing is, Hairston has never started a game at right guard, and he’ll be facing Geno Atkins. This is a matchup that Philip Rivers already fears, and this mismatch could free Dunlap or Michael Johnson to wreak havoc if San Diego sends double-teams Atkins’ way.
Next: Green and Friends vs. Green and Friends