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Chargers Defense Will Need To Step Up Against Explosive Bengals

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By Danny Cox

The San Diego Chargers were almost able to take down the strong Baltimore Ravens this past week, but their defense allowed one big play too many. Actually, the Chargers gave up over 400 yards on offense to a team that doesn’t really have all the playmakers in the world. This week, the Bolts are going to have to play defense a bit harder to stay as close.

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 25: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Paul Brown Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Credit, Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals have a very good offense that is led by second-year quarterback Andy Dalton, who is really coming of his own and leading the team. He is passing for almost 252 yards per game and has 23 touchdowns this season as opposed to only 11 interceptions.

Wide receiver A.J. Green has also started to show his true colors and has become the primary target for Dalton. This season for the Bengals, Green has 1,022 yards and leads the NFL with 10 touchdowns.

One big injury for the Chargers is going to make this offensive duo for the Bengals even more of a problem.

On Tuesday, Chargers starting safety Atari Bigby was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury he suffered against the Ravens. This is a huge problem for San Diego as Bigby is an excellent captain for the secondary and also ranked second on the team in tackles with 68.

Making matters worse is that safeties Eric Weddle and Darrell Stuckey aren’t at 100 percent either. They are dealing with minor injuries which could really slow them down and make them vulnerable targets for Dalton and the Bengals passing attack.

If Green makes one move and can get past the cornerbacks defending him, he could be off to the races the entire day.

Another big injury for San Diego is that linebacker Donald Butler who is expected to miss at least one or two games. Having Butler missing from the middle of the field could mean even bigger problems for the Chargers.

You see, the passing attack isn’t the only offensive weapon that Cincinnati has. Their running game isn’t too shabby either.

As a team, the Bengals have rushed for 1,253 yards this season. They are led by veteran running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis who is well on his way to his second-career 1,000 season. He’s already amasses 767 yards and scored five touchdowns.

It certainly appears as if the offense of the Chargers is going to have to keep pace with the Bengals if this one is going to stay close.

Some good news is that the San Diego offense, led by quarterback Philip Rivers, played very well against the Ravens. For the second time this season, the Chargers played turnover-free football, but they’ve got to put more points on the board.

Another thing they have to do is somehow have that shoddy and injured offensive line protect Philip Rivers more. San Diego’s offensive leader on the field went down six times to the Ravens for a total loss of 39 yards.

Sacks killed a number of good drives for the Chargers that could have possibly opened up the game more and not forced overtime.

Injuries are certainly going to be a factor against the Bengals, but the Chargers are going to have to rely on other guys stepping up their game. Most importantly, the defense for San Diego needs to man up, play better, and always keep an eye on A.J. Green.

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Chargers news, see CBS Sports Los Angeles.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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