Well, last week was a mess. I finished up last week’s preview convinced that there was no way the Redskins could lose to the Rams. I kept playing it over in my head “New Redskins team, explosive offense, physical defense, strong front 7, Rams injured, mediocre offensive line”. But it’s the NFL, I should have known better, it happens. Moving on to this week’s match-up against the Bengals, we could have a possible shoot-out on our hands. Let’s dig in.
Scouting the Bengals
As of right now, the Bengals passing offense stands middle of the pack in the NFL. But that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. 2nd year QB Andy Dalton found a groove in the Cleveland game, & he has weapons. One dangerous one in particular A.J. Green. Green had a great rookie year with over 1,000 yards receiving & 8 TDs. He’s a big target that will pose a match-up problem for anyone on the Redskins defense. While he’s Andy Dalton’s favorite target he’s not even their leading receiver in yards this year so far. That title belongs to the 5’7″ Andrew Hawkins. He’s been targeted 12 times but has 10 catches & averages 14.2 yards per reception. The Redskins were eaten up by Danny Amendola last week so this could be another nightmare match-up. Dalton has been spreading the ball quite a bit, Armon Binns & Brandon Tate will get looks as well. Dalton also looks for tight-end Jermaine Gresham quite a lot as well. Problem in the passing game so far is pass blocking. So far Andy Dalton has been sacked more than any other QB in the league at 10 times.
Cincinnati is a pretty average running team & don’t figure to rely on the run much to win games this year. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is their top running back, he averages 4.3 yards per carry & when he comes out for a breather Cedric Peerman has been their guy. But 2nd string RB Bernard Scott is expected to play this week after missing the first 2 games of the year. All-in-all while the Bengals running game shouldn’t be expected to dominate, they’re pretty capable of getting some good yards on the ground.
The Bengals are giving up 126 yards per game on the ground so far. The Redskins boast a top 4 rushing attack so this could be in favor of the Redskins. Rey Maualuga has been frustrating in stopping the run. They lost run stopping DE Jamaal Anderson with a torn quad last week. Defensive tackle Domata Peko is their most consistent player against the run. Overall the Bengals just doesn’t look like a good run-stopping team & so far stats prove it.
The Bengals look even worse in pass defense. They’re currently giving up 309 ypg in the air. First round pick CB Dre Kirkpatrick has been out & will miss the Redskins game as well. Leon Hall is battling an injury & will be questionable for the game. The Bengals have 0 interceptions this year. Then there’s cast-offs Terence Newman & Adam “Pacman” Jones for depth at CB. Taylor Mays who’s had a disappointing NFL career has been once again a non-factor so far this year. The team’s most effective pass rusher is DT Geno Atkins, he provides consistent pressure. They also get Carlos Dunlap back this week he has 13 sacks in 2 NFL seasons. The Bengals need a constant pass rush to help out their anemic pass defense.
Keys for the Redskins
- Whether it’s RG3 or Alfred Morris excelling in the run game, it’s worked so far this year. Redskins have to attack on the ground from every angle against the Bengals, they may want to exploit the side that Carlos Dunlap is on to see how effective he is coming off an injury.
- Attack downfield, the Bengals are having all sorts of problems defending the pass. The Redskins haven’t attacked downfield much despite the 68 yard TD pass last week against the Rams. Show RG3′s arm off & exploit the Bengals weak pass defense.
- With Orakpo out for the year, if Rob Jackson & Chris Wilson has problems getting to the QB the team has to dial up some blitzes. Bengals having a tough time protecting Dalton so far this year, the Redskins can’t let another mediocre o-line get away free.
-PLAY MAN DEFENSE. The Bengals have a much more potent passing attack with more weapons than the Rams. The game can get ugly if Jim Haslett calls another soft zone game. This team doesn’t want to see what the elusive Andrew Hawkins can do in open space & A.J. Green will have a field day if this team doesn’t play aggressive man defense.
RG3 vs Bengals Pass D. If Brandon Weeden can throw for 300+ yards against this Bengals defense, then I expect no less from RG3. Mike Zimmer will probably try to throw the house at RG3, but after the Rams game RG3 should be ready for anything.
A.J. Green vs Redskins Cornerbacks
The secondary was eaten alive last week. Some of it can be attributed to the horrendous play-calling & some was just poor coverage. A.J. Green will make you pay every time, & Dalton will look for him a lot.
Advantage: A.J. Green
Redskins Front 7 vs Bengals O-line
Disappointing performance last week for the Redskins front 7. A Front 7 I thought was the strength of the team. Huge losses with Adam Carriker & Orakpo out for the season. Depending how guys who’ve never started in the NFL before respond, the front 7 is weaker. With that said, Bengals o-line is ripe for the picking (which we thought the same of the Rams). But I expect the Redskins front 7 to have something to prove on Sunday.
Advantage: Redskins Front 7
2008, Jim Zorn’s first year as head coach. Redskins fell down 17-0 to a Ryan Fitzpatrick led Bengals team. Redskins made a comeback, but the crucial turning point in that game was Mike Sellers fumbling at the goal line in that game after being stopped 2 plays in a row. It was a frustrating loss for the Redskins considering the Bengals were 1-11-1 going into that game. The wheels had basically be declared damaged after this game. Santana Moss & Fred Davis, the lone skill position players that are still on the team now had a combined 8 catches for 87 yards.
Redskins haven’t loss a home opener in 5 straight contests. This game has the potential for a shoot-out but you have to think that both defenses should be playing with chips on their shoulders. The big question in this game is, which defensive coordinator comes out with a better plan & who responds better. Being as though a lot of the Redskins defensive troubles seem to stem from scheme problems & the Bengals more-so players not playing up to par, I’m going with the Redskins at home.
Redskins 34 Bengals 23