I said earlier that the San Diego Chargers offensive line faces a tough task and needs to do what it can to try and protect Philip Rivers against a good Cincinnati Bengals pass rush. However, there's plenty that Rivers can do himself.
If Rivers is able to quickly identify the defense and get rid of the ball quickly to the short passing routes, as he did in the second half against the Detroit Lions, he'll keep himself upright all game long. He'll also lower his risk of turning the ball over, which is really going to be the key to this tight matchup.
In the last three season, Andy Dalton has thrown 17, 20, and 16 interceptions. That's an average of 17.6 interceptions per season...or 1.1 interceptions per game.
Last season, Dalton had 5 multi-interception games. The season before, also 5 multi-interception games. The year before that, 4 multi-interception games.
Let's do some really basic probability math.
To reach his average interceptions per season, Dalton would need to throw 17 interceptions over the next 15 games. His past stats also dictate that at least 4 (and probably 5) of those games will include Dalton throwing multiple picks.
Even on the low end, giving Dalton every benefit of the doubt while using the stats above, there's a 26% chance that he throws multiple interceptions against the San Diego Chargers defense on Sunday. The high-end, just numbers-wise, is 33%. Considering that the Chargers are at least close to being a playoff caliber team, and not every game Dalton plays is against one, I'd say the odds are probably closer to 35%.
Over the last three seasons, when Dalton has thrown multiple interceptions, the Bengals' record is 6-7-1 (including a ridiculous one where the Bengals defeated the Ravens with the playoffs on the line despite Dalton throwing 4 interceptions), so it doesn't guarantee anything, but it wouldn't be shocking to see it happen and it wouldn't hurt the Chargers one bit.
The same way I thought Danny Woodhead was the key to the Chargers offense last week, I think Stevie Johnson is the key to their offense this week.
Malcom Floyd and Keenan Allen are always going to be there, and they're always going to be either putting up numbers or getting a ton of attention. Where the Chargers have the advantage is that they have more playmakers running into the secondary than most secondaries have solid defenders.
I think Leon Hall gets the assignment on Johnson most of the time, and he'll probably keep Stevie in check, but there will likely be a few times where Stevie is seeing zone coverage and can get matched up against Darqueze Dennard, who is...not as good as Leon Hall.
I'll also throw Ladarius Green out here as someone that can completely change the face of this game if the Chargers can find a way to buy Rivers time in the pocket.
I guess the point is this: The Chargers have a ton of playmakers. Probably more than most NFL teams. We barely even touched on the RBs because there is so much going on at WR and TE. If Rivers has time, he'll be able to use all of those weapons to carve up any defense, even the Bengals.