Chargers to open 2020 NFL season at Bengals, then debut in new home vs. Chiefs

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.
Coach Anthony Lynn’s Chargers will open the 2020 season on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.
(Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

Chargers fans might be curious to see how their new quarterback, Justin Herbert, will perform in the NFL, but in Week 1 they’ll likely first see the No. 1 pick of the draft.

The Chargers are scheduled to open the season on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals and their prize quarterback, Joe Burrow. With Philip Rivers — the Chargers starter for the past 14 years — now in Indianapolis, veteran Tyrod Taylor is expected to take over the quarterback spot with Herbert, the No. 6 overall pick in last month’s draft, being groomed behind him.

L.A. will make its debut in the new SoFi Stadium in Week 2 against the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions.

Even with the change behind center, the Chargers project as a team capable of making a push for the playoffs — a team that features leaguewide stars such as Derwin James, Joey Bosa and Keenan Allen.


Rams will open 2020 NFL season at SoFi Stadium against the Cowboys, and then go on road to face Eagles and Bills before returning home to play the Giants.

The Chargers are scheduled for two prime-time appearances: at New Orleans in October on “Monday Night Football” and at Las Vegas in December in a Thursday night game.

The Chargers’ preseason schedule includes home games against Dallas and the Rams and trips to Seattle and San Francisco.

Here is a game-by-game look at the regular-season schedule:


Sept. 13: at Cincinnati, 1:05 p.m., (Ch. 2) — The Bengals now have Burrow, but they also have four consecutive losing seasons and are coming off a two-win 2019.

Sept. 20: KANSAS CITY, 1:25 p.m. (Ch. 2) — The Chargers get their first shot at the reigning Super Bowl champions and Patrick Mahomes, who might be only redefining the most prominent position in all of sports.

Sept. 27: CAROLINA, 1:05 p.m. (Ch. 2) — In the storied annals of glorious NFL history, Chargers-Panthers has absolutely no place at all. The Chargers have faced Carolina only six times.

Oct. 4: at Tampa Bay, 10 a.m. (Ch. 2) — The “Tom Brady Bowl” will feature the two teams that were most in the running for the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.


Oct. 12: at New Orleans, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN) — The Chargers have defeated the Saints only once since 1997. OK, the teams have played each other only five times during that span, but still …

Oct. 18: NEW YORK JETS, 1:05 p.m. (Ch. 2) — When the Chargers most recently beat the Jets — on Christmas Eve, 2017 — New York’s quarterback was Bryce Petty, who won once in an NFL career that lasted 10 games.

Oct. 25: at Miami, 10 a.m. (Ch. 2) — For the second season in a row, the Chargers visit South Florida, where they trounced the Dolphins 30-10 in late September. No way Tua Tagovailoa is already playing, right?

Nov. 1: JACKSONVILLE, 1:05 p.m. (Ch. 2) — In arguably the least-interesting game of the season, the Jaguars visit SoFi Stadium to test the suggestion that every NFL matchup is significant.


Nov. 8: LAS VEGAS, 1:05 p.m. (Ch. 11) — Raiders fans will stream into SoFi Stadium and trumpet the notion that their team remains the most popular in Los Angeles.

Nov. 15: OFF WEEK.

Nov. 22: at Denver, 1:05 p.m. (Ch. 2) — “Revenge Game Squared” arrives as now-Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and now-Denver running back Melvin Gordon face their ex-teams.


Nov. 29: at Buffalo, 10 a.m. (Ch. 2) — For the second time in three years, the Chargers visit upstate New York to face the Bills and their mafia-minded fans.

Dec. 6: NEW ENGLAND, 1:25 p.m. (Ch. 2) — The Patriots venture to L.A. without Brady, a fact that certainly can’t hurt the Chargers’ chances. They’ve beaten New England just once over the past nine meetings.

Dec. 13: ATLANTA, 1:25 p.m. (Ch. 11) — These teams most recently played in 2016, a thrilling 33-30 overtime victory by the San Diego Chargers at the Georgia Dome.

Dec. 17: at Las Vegas, 5:20 p.m. (Ch. 11) — The Chargers make their franchise debut in Sin City, the new home of the Raiders. Entering 2020, these teams have met 120 times, and the Chargers have faced no team more often.


Dec. 26 or 27: DENVER, TBD (TBD) — The Chargers were swept by the Broncos last season and have dropped three of their last four meetings against their AFC West rivals.

Jan. 3: at Kansas City, 10 a.m. (Ch. 2) — The Chiefs are 11-1 in this series since the start of the 2014 season, making this less rivalry, more revelry, at least as far as Kansas City fans are concerned.