The Bengals and Chargers are two very similar teams. While I give the edge to the Chargers at the quarterback position, I like Cincinnati's line on both sides of the ball much better. (Wait, did WhoDeyFans just make an anti Dalton sentiment?)
I'd imagine the Chargers don't want Cincinnati to beat them in the running game. In fact, that is probably the narrative of every team the Bengals face until Andy Dalton begins to play more consistently. Let's face it, when Dalton is good, he can be really good. Some of you may never admit it and give fake compliments through gritted teeth, but it is true. At times, Dalton is an outstanding quarterback. It is the other times that cause a fault line as big as the Grand Canyon with this fan base. But that is another post for another day...
What can't happen in this game is for Andy Dalton to feel like he HAS to win this game for the team. When this has happened in the past we see an output like the second half of the playoff game where the Bengals imploded against the Chargers. Fumbles with no contact, terrible pre-snap reads and bad ball location. Even if the passing game is relied on in this game, never should it feel that way. Don't abandon the run, settle for a punt and make plays when they present themselves. The talent is there, let it develop. Forcing the ball will spell disaster for Cincinnati.
I also can't get a quote from John Gennaro of, Bolts from the Blue out of my head. When answering some of Scott Bantel's question in the weekly Q&A with the opposing team's blog, Gennaro said the following:
"I don't think there's enough defense left without Mike Zimmer to slow down the Chargers offense."
I hope the San Diego coaching staff is foolish enough to believe this also. See, in the last game the Chargers played the Bengals, they had the benefit to miss Geno Atkins. Last season Atkins was not up to the caliber player he was before his injury either, so I understand the world forgetting about how dominant he can be. I expect him to show the patchwork Chargers' offensive line just what kind of player people like Gennaro are underestimating.
This defense is good. All it has shown in one game is that it can go on the road and keep an opponent off of their side of the field until the 4th quarter.
Oakland may not be thought of as a very good team, but the 20 point victory the Bengals enjoyed crushes the Chargers 3 point and 7 point wins last season against the same team. I expect the Bengals to not only hold their own against the Chargers' offensive game, but to be able to balance the offense and beat the Chargers on both sides of the ball today.