Top storylines to watch for as the Bengals take on the LA Chargers
Joe Burrow and the Bengals will have plenty of compelling matchups against the Chargers as the new era in Cincinnati begins.
Week one is officially here. After what seems like the longest six months ever, and after many uncertainties, NFL fans can rejoice as the 2020 season kicks off this week. The Cincinnati Bengals host the Los Angeles Chargers in what is sure to be a tough contest in the jungle. There are many battles that will take place inside the game. We take a look at the best matchups in the opener for Cincinnati.
Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa vs Jonah Williams
The Bengals selected Jonah Williams with the 11th overall pick in 2019. After he spent his rookie season on IR, Williams revamped his body and now looks like a true NFL tackle.
His first live test will be no easy task. The Chargers bring in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram to battle this offensive line. Bosa was recently made the highest-paid defensive end in the league and Ingram is no chump either.
It’ll be interesting to watch how Jonah Williams fairs against these two star players. Williams held his own during camp going against Sam Hubbard and Carlos Dunlap, but this will be a whole different beast to kick off week one.
Joe Burrow vs Chargers secondary
To be honest, Cincinnati Bengals’ fans should have been looking forward to Joe Burrow versus Derwin James, but unfortunately, that test will have to wait. James was recently injured during camp and will be out for the year with a torn meniscus.
It would have been an awesome first test to see how Burrow can move an All-Pro talent at safety, but he’ll still have to go against Pro Bowler Chris Harris Jr. and cornerback Desmond King. It definitely won’t be a walk in the park.
Joe Burrow will be tested all game long as this home opener is sure to give Bengals’ fans a sense of Burrow’s progression.
Bengals new-look defense against Austin Ekeler
It’s no secret that the Cincinnati Bengals revamped their defense during the 2020 offseason. The Bengals are relying on big man D.J. Reader, new linebackers Josh Bynes and Logan Wilson, as well as run-stopping corner Mackensie Alexander, to give the defense a boost it lacked in 2019.
Austin Ekeler is a force to be reckoned with. The former undrafted free agent heads into 2020 as the primary back for the Chargers. In 2019, Eckler shined while Melvin Gordon held our due to contract negotiations.
Ekeler will bring a tough challenge to Lou Anarumo’s defense. Bengals’ fans will get a good grasp of what the rest of the year will look like as the defense looks to stop a star in Ekeler.
Burrow’s relationship with A.J. Green and John Ross
A.J. Green is any quarterbacks best friend, assuming he’s healthy. Without Green, the Bengals are without a true number one receiver. Green missed all of last season with a sprained ankle. Early in camp, Green tweaked his hamstring, which forced him out of practice for a week.
John Ross has had his fair share of bad luck when it comes to injuries as well. Last season he was lost to IR due to a shoulder injury. Ross left camp this year to take care of his son and son’s mother as they recovered from COVID-19. A week following, Ross injured his arm during practice. He was held out of the last scrimmage as a “precaution.”
Joe Burrow hasn’t had the time necessary to build a strong rapport with Ross and Green. It will be crucial in the week leading up to the Chargers that he gets as many reps as possible with the former first-round picks. The Bengals offense needs to be at full power if they are to put up a bigger fight than 2019.