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Chargers vs. Bengals: Who To Watch

Three Players Who Will Impact Sunday's Game

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    I know, you can't see the Chargers play the Bengals if you're in Southern California and have no idea what the Internet is. So I use the phrase "watch" loosely here.

    Anyway, here's a list of three players who will likely have something to say about the final outcome at Qualcomm Stadium.

    1) Shaun Phillips. He leads the Chargers in sacks and QB pressures, but it's his work against the run that will be paramount against Cincinnati. Jarret Johnson is questionable with a back injury. He's usually the run-stuffing outside linebacker. Under head coach Marvin Lewis, the Bengals are 33-2 when a running back carries at least 25 times. Phillips will have to step up and help stop the run.

    2) Nick Hardwick. The center is the most stable and consistent performer on the Chargers offensive line. He's had revolving doors around him, and Philip Rivers is on a pace to be suffer the highest sack total of his career. Hardwick calls the blocking assignments, so he's going to have to be on the very top of his game against a Bengals defense that's second in the NFL in sacks, then hope the other four guys on the line can hold up.

    3) Nick Novak. The last four times the Chargers and Bengals have played (each team has won twice) the LOSING team has scored 41, 24, 20 and 27 points. These teams tend to play high-scoring games, so every point counts. Novak will be called on, and when he does, he'll have to be true to keep the Chargers in the hunt.