Sep 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green (18) is defended by Oakland Raiders cornerback Neiko Thorpe (31) in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
3. Bengals Pass-Catchers vs. Chargers Pass-Catchers
Tyler Eifert was fantastic in Week 1, earning our Weekly MVP award, but Chargers tight end Ladarius Green had a nice performance as well, racking up 74 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Green was San Diego’s leading receiver in the team’s 2013 playoff win in Cincinnati, catching three passes, gaining 34 yards and scoring a touchdown. While Cincinnati doesn’t have to worry about Antonio Gates, Green could be just as lethal a weapon this season.
While Green is a solid tight end, San Diego’s wide receivers are even better. Keenan Allen and Steve Johnson waxed the Lions defense for 248 total yards and a touchdown, while Malcolm Floyd added a 29-yard touchdown catch. These Chargers receivers can ball.
On the other side, A.J. Green looks to make a bigger impact against a very suspect Chargers defense. While Eric Weddle helped Brandon Flowers in coverage on Calvin Johnson in Week 1, the team will not be able to double on Green as frequently due to the Chargers’ need to stop Jeremy Hill in the run game.
And if the Chargers can miraculously stop both Jeremy Hill and A.J. Green, the Bengals still have Tyler Eifert, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu at their disposal. Eifert, Jones and Sanu are all capable of going off, as evidenced in Eifert’s Week 1 dominance, Marvin Jones’ four-touchdown game against the New York Jets in 2013 and Mohamed Sanu’s two 100-yard games as the number one receiver during A.J. Green’s injury absence in 2014.
Both of these teams are loaded at wide receiver and tight end; it will be interesting to see which team’s passing game can make the bigger impact. And while the Chargers have the better overall quarterback in Philip Rivers, don’t count Andy Dalton out. He was fantastic against the Raiders; and while Dalton has been correctly been labeled as consistent, he has the ability to completely take over a game when he’s hot.
We’ll just have to see who shows up to play on Sunday.