The Cincinnati Bengals host the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday in a critical AFC matchup with many playoff implications riding on the outcome.
This will be the first time former first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft takes on Justin Herbert, who was the 6th pick in that same draft. Last season, When Joe Burrow made his NFL debut in Week 1, it was against the Chargers although, Tyrod Taylor was the starter. Not Herbert yet.
This Sunday will be their first head-to-head matchup in the NFL, and with both teams playing meaningful football in the first week of December, this has the chance to be the biggest game of each team’s season up to this point.
Herbert and Burrow have set themselves apart from all the other quarterbacks. They were each selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and not only have they had remarkably consistent and astounding play, but they have turned around two franchises who each were bottom ten teams in a year and a half and have led each team into playoff contention with a few more victories this season.
In 11 games this season, Burrow has 22 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 2,835 passing yards, 69.3 competition percentage, and 76.8 quarterback rating.
Herbert has 24 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 3,230 passing yards, a 66.0 competition percentage, and a 65.8 quarterback rating.
Regardless, if there is a rivalry between these two, they will always be compared to each other, coming out of the same class. With their early success, it is easy to pick these two out of a hat and judge them against each other even though they are both off to incredible starts to their careers.
If the Bengals lose, they could switch places with the Chargers and fall to the 7th seed while Los Angeles moves into the 5th seed. However, if the Bengals can escape with a victory, they could create a sizable lead for the top wild-card spot or sit atop the AFC North if the Ravens lose to the Steelers.
With a Chargers loss, they would fall to 6-6 and could potentially fall out of the top seven if the Denver Broncos can get a Sunday night win over the Chiefs. The fact of the matter is that the importance of who wins is vital.
For each of these young quarterbacks to be playing in important games this late in the season is eye-opening considering where these teams were last season and considering Burrow’s coming off a severe knee injury. But here we are and this has the potential to be an extremely competitive game with a lot of people tuning in.