The Cincinnati Bengals open up the 2020 NFL season hosting the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1. As 3.5-point underdogs, the Bengals are exepcted to start the season with a loss an move to 0-1.
If the Bengals plan to upset the Chargers and start the season with a win, they will need some key players to step up with big performances. Here are three bold predictions for the Bengals against the Chargers.
1. Tyler Boyd and Joe Burrow Develop Immediate Chemistry
Joe Burrow relied on his slot receiver, Justin Jefferson, a lot dung his time at LSU, throwing to that position on over 20% of his passes. That's good news for Tyler Boyd, who worked out of the slot over 60% of his snaps in 2019. Look for these two to develop chemistry quickly against a Chargers defense that allowed over 20 completions a game, but ranked No. 6 in least passing yards given up per game (200.2) This suggests a lot of the successful plays run against them were short yardage. With wide receivers AJ Green and rookie Tee Higgins drawing coverage downfield, those short yardage plays could be open and taken advantage of early and often by a rookie quarterback who wants to get some completions under his belt. Look for Tyler Boyd to have a great game in Week 1 and possibly become the No. 1 target for Joe Burrow.
2. Bengals Record 0 Sacks in the Game
Coming into this game, neither defense is ranked higher than No. 26 in the NFL when it came to total sacks in the season. When it comes to Cincinnati, they are facing an offensive line that gave up one or zero sacks in eight of 16 games last season. With Tyrod Taylor manning the quarterback position, the Bengals will have to work hard to sack a player who has 1,843 career rushing yards. A dual threat mobile quarterback, Taylor will look to escape the pocket if it starts to close in on him so he can get any yardage he can. Defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Sam Hubbard will look to build off their strong seasons last year, but it doesn't look like it will get off to a great start against a strong offensive scheme put together by the Chargers.
3. Joe Mixon Records at Least 20 Carries
Joe Mixon continued to prove that he can be a workhorse running back in the NFL last season when he posted 1,137 rushing yards and scored 8 total touchdowns. With a rookie quarterback in Joe Burrow, look for the Bengals to lean on the running game in Week 1 against a Chargers defense that gave up 112.8 rushing yards per game last season (No. 18 in NFL). Mixon has averaged over 4 yards per carry each of the past two seasons while acting as a bright spot on an otherwise underwhelming Bengals offense. Mixon has also caught at least 30 passes in each of his three NFL seasons and can be a solid checkdown for Burrow. Mixon carried the ball over 20 times in only five games last season, but look for the Bengals to make him the focal point of the offense in Week 1 in order to ease Burrow into the offense.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.