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Week 13 Predictions: All Bengals Staff Gives Picks for Sunday's Game Against Chargers

Cincinnati is hoping to win three-straight games for the first time since 2015.

CINCINNATI — Joe Burrow squares off against Justin Herbert and the Chargers on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. 

Both quarterbacks have given their respective franchises new life after being taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. Will the Bengals continue to make their playoff push or will the Chargers rebound after an ugly loss to the Broncos? 

The All Bengals team made our predictions for Sunday's matchup. Check them out below!

Elise Jesse, All Bengals Insider

Season Record: 4-7

The AFC playoff race is wide open and the Cincinnati Bengals are in position to move closer toward the top spot this week. It’s been a while, 2015 to be exact since we’ve been able to include the Bengals in postseason conversations.

The Chargers are also in the playoff race, even though they’ve been inconsistent this season, losing four of their last six games.

This game worries me, but that worry will melt away quickly if the Bengals’ defense is able to capitalize off of one of LA’s biggest issues this season. Dropped passes have been an ongoing storyline for this team and their top playmakers are the biggest offenders.

Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, and Jared Cook have five drops each.

If Cincinnati’s secondary can exploit the Chargers in this area and put the ball back in Burrow’s hands, I think they’ll be able to improve to 8-4

Prediction: Bengals 28, Chargers 17

Russ Heltman, All Bengals Contributor

Season Record: 4-7

The Bengals are rolling after their bye for the first time over five years, as the Chargers stroll into town. They'll have to deal with a red-hot Joe Mixon and a Bengals' offensive line that is starting to gel.

Mixon recorded a career-high 165 yards and two touchdowns on 5.9 yards per carry last Sunday against Pittsburgh. The wide zone is coming together at the right time. The Chargers are by far the worst run defense in the NFL.

The hyperbole is warranted. Los Angeles allows the most rushing yards per game in the league (145.3) and 4.7 yards per carry. According to Football Outsiders, they are also last in rushing DVOA allowed. The Chargers' 5.3% mark is 4% worse than the Giants, who are 31st. 

Mixon and the offensive line keep cooking despite a pair of injury issues at center and right tackle.

Prediction: Bengals 27, Chargers 23

Nicole Zembrodt, All Bengals Contributor

Season Record: 6-5

Many were upset that this game didn't get flexed to primetime with the Burrow vs. Herbert headline. I was too. However, having a West Coast team play at 1 p.m. ET greatly favors the Bengals. The last time the Chargers played at 1 p.m. ET, Baltimore beat them 34-6 in Week 6, exposing many of their weaknesses. Los Angeles hasn't been able to find a consistent rhythm since posting a 2-3 record in their last five games. 

The Chargers have the worst rush defense in the league. Cincinnati needs to feed Mixon and feed Mixon some more. Burrow hasn't put up eye-catching stats the last two games with their success on the ground, but he has put together two of his more accurate games.

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are two of the NFL's best wide receiver duos. This offense led by Herbert can't be underestimated, despite their struggles in Denver last week. The secondary will have their hands full, but look to carry the momentum they've sparked coming out of the bye.

Bengals get the win and continue their playoff push.

Prediction: Bengals 34, Chargers 27

Blake Jewell, All Bengals Contributor

Season Record: 6-5

To put it simply, the Chargers' run defense isn’t very good. With Mixon playing at an All-Pro level, I like the Bengals' chances to establish the run early and control the game. If the Chargers sell out to stop the run, this will put the game on the shoulders of Burrow, who has a great chance to perform well this week. On the defensive side, the keys are going to be keeping Austin Ekeler from running wild and forcing mistakes from Justin Herbert. This will be a tough game, but with the way the Bengals have been playing, they should win this one in front of the home crowd.

Prediction: Bengals 31, Chargers 27

Mike Santagata, All Bengals Film Analyst

Season Record: 5-6

Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers are traveling across the country to play the Cincinnati Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday. This will be the first matchup between Herbert and Burrow. With how well they have each played so far in their careers I can only assume this will be the first of many matchups between these quarterbacks.

While the Bengals are red hot coming off two huge wins, the Chargers have stumbled a bit over their past six games. They only have a 2-4 record over that time period and in their most recent game they were beaten by 15 against the Broncos.

The momentum of each team is one factor in this matchup. The other main factor is the Chargers lack of a run defense. In seven out of 11 games they gave given up at least 140 rushing yards. Mixon is averaging 144 yards per game since the bye week. This seems like a huge mismatch in the Bengals favor and could decide the game.

Prediction: Bengals 27, Chargers 23

Lindsay Patterson, All Bengals Reporter

Season Record: 2-1

I know some wanted the game to get flexed to primetime, but I think this is a little bit of an advantage for the Bengals facing a west coast team at 1 p.m. ET. I'm no meteorologist, but the chance of rain could factor into the game plan too.

Can Mixon feast against this Chargers defense? They struggle to stop the run and could try to take away Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. If that's the case, Mixon could run for 100+ yards for a third consecutive game. I do have a little bit of concern about the offensive line if Riley Reiff can't play, but Zac Taylor seemed to be optimistic that Reiff could go without practicing. 

Now on the other side of the ball can the Bengals defense put the pressure on Herbert? I still feel he will be able to get out of the pocket and make plays, which means this game could go down to the wire. In the end Taylor wins three straight for the first time in his head coaching career..

Prediction: Bengals 28, Chargers 24

James Rapien, All Bengals Publisher

Season Record: 5-6

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The Bengals' offense appears to have figured it out. They're more multiple now than they've been during the Taylor era. 

They can throw over the top of their opponent, run through opposing defenses, or dink and dunk their way downfield. 

The Bengals are dealing with some injuries in the trenches—Reiff and center Trey Hopkins are game time decisions, but something tells me both veterans will be able to play in such a big game. 

I expect a wild, wacky, high scoring game between two AFC contenders battling for a playoff spot. Burrow makes one more play than Herbert and Cincinnati wins three-straight games for the first time since 2015.

Prediction: Bengals 38, Chargers 34

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