Morning Links: Chargers over Bengals

SAN DIEGO -- Good morning. Despite the Chargers' 5-6 record and the game being blacked out locally, San Diego is a popular pick over the visiting, 7-4 Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers are a slight favorite.

Bill Simmons of Grantland likes the Chargers over the Bengals. Simmons: “Phil Rivers is red-hot, and I'm not sold on Andy Dalton on the road in any capacity. He was dying to give away that Browns game two weeks ago. Still seems shaky to me.”

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated likes the Chargers over the Bengals as well. Banks: “Philip Rivers and the Chargers are clicking on offense and that's going to make for a long day for a Bengals defense missing both Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. Cincinnati will score its share of points, but I don't see Andy Dalton being able to keep up with Rivers.”

Four out of the seven NFL writers at USA Today pick the Chargers over the Bengals.

Five of the eight NFL writers at CBS Sports select San Diego over Cincinnati.

ESPN Bengals beat reporter Coley Harvey notes that Andy Dalton has not lost a game at Qualcomm Stadium. Dalton is 4-0 going back to his days at TCU.

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com has the Chargers selecting Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard in his latest mock draft. Fellow draft analyst Dane Bruglar pegs Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandijo to San Diego.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego writes that Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Nick Hardwick, Danny Woodhead, Ryan Mathews, Eric Weddle, Corey Liuget and Mike Scifres are potential Pro Bowl candidates.

ESPN’s Greg Garber has a good story on the health issues NFL linemen face that do not shed weight after their playing careers are over, and the struggle for players to lose that weight.

Former sports agent Joel Corry writing for the National Football Post lists Robert Meachem’s contract with San Diego among his top 10 dead money deals in 2013. Corry: “The Chargers inked Meachem to a four-year, $25.5 million deal (with $14 million guaranteed) at the start of the 2012 free agent signing period as a much cheaper alternative to re-signing Vincent Jackson. Meachem caught only 14 passes for 207 yards in 2012. He didn’t survive the final cut in San Diego this year despite having a fully guaranteed $5 million base salary. Meachem returned to the New Orleans Saints, who drafted him in the first round in 2007, on a one-year, $715,000 deal. Since Meachem’s guarantee has an offset, the Chargers are recouping the $715,000 from the Saints and get a cap credit in 2014 for those payments.”

Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today reports that black NFL players are arrested nearly 10 times as often as white NFL players. Interesting read using database reporting.