Can Joe Burrow usher in new era for Bengals with win over Chargers?

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Cincinnati Bengals hope a new era starts on the right foot Sunday against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers.” data-reactid=”13″>The Cincinnati Bengals hope a new era starts on the right foot Sunday against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers.

It’s not exactly an easy thing to project one way or another though given the oddities around the season. There won’t be fans in the stadium. The team overhauled the roster and didn’t have preseason games. Officials didn’t either. The rookie quarterback is both a rookie and hardly got hit during camp. Injuries are already a problem.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And that’s just touching on surface-level items. Burrow is the biggest one — he’s been impressive in camp, which isn’t any shock for a guy coming off the greatest season by a college passer either. But he largely had to work with reserves like Mike Thomas and Auden Tate while A.J. Green and John Ross missed chunks of camp.” data-reactid=”15″>And that’s just touching on surface-level items. Burrow is the biggest one — he’s been impressive in camp, which isn’t any shock for a guy coming off the greatest season by a college passer either. But he largely had to work with reserves like Mike Thomas and Auden Tate while A.J. Green and John Ross missed chunks of camp.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Will it be a big problem? Maybe not, but a Joey Bosa-led Chargers pass rush could complicate things for the rookie while he sits behind a remade offensive line with at least two new starters, including a “rookie” on the left side with Jonah Williams.” data-reactid=”16″>Will it be a big problem? Maybe not, but a Joey Bosa-led Chargers pass rush could complicate things for the rookie while he sits behind a remade offensive line with at least two new starters, including a “rookie” on the left side with Jonah Williams.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Defensively, the Bengals have new starters at every level of the unit and already won’t have Geno Atkins on the line or new cornerback Trae Waynes. Issues with chemistry and no preseason games plus now the need to make up for Atkins’ disruptive absence could be problematic.” data-reactid=”21″>Defensively, the Bengals have new starters at every level of the unit and already won’t have Geno Atkins on the line or new cornerback Trae Waynes. Issues with chemistry and no preseason games plus now the need to make up for Atkins’ disruptive absence could be problematic.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="None of this is to suggest the Chargers haven’t faced adversity either. They had the same hurdles and forcibly removed themselves from the Philip Rivers era this offseason, instead opting for veteran Tyrod Taylor over rookie Justin Herbert.” data-reactid=”22″>None of this is to suggest the Chargers haven’t faced adversity either. They had the same hurdles and forcibly removed themselves from the Philip Rivers era this offseason, instead opting for veteran Tyrod Taylor over rookie Justin Herbert.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Los Angeles’ other first-round pick, Kenneth Murray, will attempt to boost a rebuilding unit of his own while facing a trial by fire against the likes of Joe Mixon. And the injury bug hasn’t been kind, with center Mike Pouncey out and two other linemen questionable, plus wideout Mike Williams questionable.” data-reactid=”23″>Los Angeles’ other first-round pick, Kenneth Murray, will attempt to boost a rebuilding unit of his own while facing a trial by fire against the likes of Joe Mixon. And the injury bug hasn’t been kind, with center Mike Pouncey out and two other linemen questionable, plus wideout Mike Williams questionable.

While there is an element of randomness to how things might unfold due to the strange journey here, even an Atkins-less line is going to create some havoc for the Chargers and Taylor, a career 61.6 percent passer with no meaningful number of attempts in a season since 2017. And while Burrow justifiably gets the hype, it feels like Sunday could be the Joe Mixon show if the coaching staff learns from its mistakes a year ago and involves him heavily in the running and passing game.

 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Prediction: Bengals, 30-20″ data-reactid=”26″>Prediction: Bengals, 30-20

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