So far, the Cincinnati Bengals have defeated the 2-5 New York Jets, the 3-4 Miami Dolphins and the 0-7 Cleveland Browns. Against the Browns, the team rushed for an inspiring 271 yards, giving fans hope that Jeremy Hill (9 carries, 168 yards, 1 TD) and the offensive line can get back to top form. But now they’ll actually get to show how they look versus a quality opponent in the Washington Redskins (4-3).
Just a week after facing their former offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, the Bengals get to face the man Jackson replaced, Jay Gruden. The Redskins coach has done an admirable job of turning Kirk Cousins into a borderline franchise player. But while Cousins is capable of putting up big numbers, the Redskins have come to realize that their best chance at winning is to keep him under control and limit his mistakes.
The fifth year quarterback has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of Washington’s losses this year, but has not reached that number in any of their four wins, a telling sign. Cousins has also struggled to get the ball to the explosive DeSean Jackson, instead leaning heavily on Jamison Crowder (31 receptions, 391 yards, 3 touchdowns). In other words, Gruden has learned to play to Cousins’ strengths and a horizontal passing game.