The Bengals are taking their first ever team trip to London this week. This of course comes with plenty of unknowns. The change in practice schedule, time zones, and the weekly routine you experience are things the Bengals will have to fight against, in addition to the Redskins. But aside from all of the sideshows and spectacles the NFL loves to throw during these events, the team has to go to work just like every other Sunday. If the team is to get back to .500 before their bye week, they need these 5 Bengals to step up.
1.) Tyler Eifert
With Eifert finally returning in a limited role last weekend, we’re hoping to see more snaps from the Notre Dame product this week. I don’t expect him to have completely normal snap counts in this game, but it should be higher than the amount he received last week. The Bengals need his dominant presence not just in the red zone, but at every part of the field. He draws completely different attention than C.J. Uzomah or Tyler Kroft and it just makes things easier for the rest of the offense. I’m looking for Eifert to put in a five catch performance this weekend before hitting the bye and coming back fully in Week 10.
Get hyped for more Eifert this weekend!!Posted by Cincy Jungle on Friday, October 28, 2016
2.) Karlos Dansby
It’s no secret that the Redskins have a pair of great tight ends in Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. Reed was recently cleared for practice out of the concussion protocol, but as of Thursday morning there’s still no clear decision on if he’ll be available for this week’s game. With or without Reed, Davis has proven to be as valuable a target as ever, recording 100+ yards receiving in Week 7. Dansby was brought in from Cleveland in the offseason for his ability to cover tight ends, as his pass coverage is (or was) the best aspect of his name. This season, in the Bengals system, Dansby just seems lost. He’s been dreadful in coverage so far, particularly against Rob Gronkowski two weeks ago. If the Bengals are going to shut down the Washington offense, they’ll need to take away Cousins’ favorite safety valves.
3.) Jeremy Hill
Coming off a career day on only nine carries, Jeremy Hill brought back a glimpse of his energetic, dancing self. Hill left the game last week after his ninth carry where he gained his 168th yard of the day and didn’t return. It seems like Hill has been dealing with nagging injuries for the past month, but he’s shown that he’s still able to be productive regardless. The Redskins have the NFL’s 26th ranked run defense, allowing 119.7 yards per contest, and the Bengals would love to take advantage of that. Bernard continues to fulfill his duty as a successful change of pace back, but more and more, it becomes clear that the overall ground success is dictated by Hill.
4.) Vontaze Burfict
Perhaps the most high profile player in the league right now, Vontaze Burfict hasn’t quite returned to his form from previous seasons in 2016. He’s still making tackles, and being somewhat productive, but he looks a tad slow and isn’t quite the game changer he usually is. The Bengals need that to change in London, as Jay Gruden will be looking to establish a healthy dose of Matt Jones on the ground. Although the Bengals are currently middle of the pack in defense at 15th, they need a boost in their 24th ranked run defense. He may get some help from Dansby, who while not being the great coverage man we thought he was, has been steady in run support this year.
5.) Brandon LaFell
With Tyler Eifert poised to get more work, and A.J. Green still being A.J. Green, not to mention a week after recording 270 yards receiving, the Redskins are going to have plenty to focus on defensively. This leaves a pristine opportunity for LaFell to continue to be a sneakily productive number two receiver for the Bengals. He has four touchdowns in his last three games (which leads the team), and Andy Dalton has shown confidence in him so far. He should continue to play a significant role in the league’s 4th overall passing offense. I have a feeling LaFell would be a nice option as a WR3 in your fantasy leagues this week, doubly so if Josh Norman ends up missing the game due to the concussion he’s battling.