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10 Insights: Safeties First

Below are 10 quick-hitting insights entering the Chargers’ Week 14 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals:

1) A win Sunday against the Bengals would ensure the Chargers’ first double digit-win season since 2009 (13-3), and fourth in team history. It would also clinch a playoff spot if the following teams lose or tie in Week 14: Tennessee (vs. Jacksonville), Miami (vs. New England), Indianapolis (at Houston) and Denver (at San Francisco).

2) Entering Week 14, the Chargers, Chiefs and Rams are the only teams to have scored at least 20 points in every game this season.

3) Sunday will be the Bengals’ first game in Los Angeles since Jan. 13, 1991 when they played the Raiders in a divisional playoff game at the L.A. Coliseum (Raiders won 20-10).

4) Wide receiver Keenan Allen has caught a touchdown in a career-high four-straight games, with a chance to make it five straight on Sunday. Allen was targeted a career-high 19 times against the Steelers and hauled in 14 balls – the second-most he’s ever caught in a game.

5) Allen has put together a four-game stretch from Weeks 10-13 that looks very similar to last season in the catch/target/TD department. 2017: 39 catches on 49 targets and four touchdowns; 2018: 36 catches on 47 targets and four touchdowns.

6) Marvin Lewis has been head coach of the Bengals (2003) longer than quarterback Philip Rivers has been in the NFL (drafted 2004).

7) Rivers remains the only quarterback who has thrown multiple touchdown passes in every game this season. Two more touchdowns on Sunday puts him in the company of Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers as the only players to have done it in 13 consecutive games to start a season, per NFL Communications.

8) Last Sunday against Pittsburgh, Rivers improved his career record in December to 37-18. He’s 13-13 all-time against the AFC North, with a chance to move above .500 with a win over the Bengals.

9) Two of the best young safeties in the league will share the field on Sunday. Derwin James leads Los Angeles in tackles (81), passes defensed (12) and is tied for the team lead in interceptions (3). Fellow rookie Jessie Bates leads the Bengals in tackles (87) and also has three interceptions this season.

10) Week 14’s game against Cincinnati will be the Chargers’ last Sunday game until Week 17. Los Angeles plays back-to-back nationally televised games in Weeks 15 (Thursday, 12/13 at KC) and 16 (Saturday, 12/22 vs. Baltimore).

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