The Bengals will get their first regular-season crack at Odell Beckham Jr. when they face the Giants on Monday Night Football.
Since coming to the NFL in 2014, Beckham has taken the league by storm and become one of the game’s best receivers. Some even consider Beckham a top-four receiver in the same breath as Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, and A.J. Green.
Cincinnati has faced Beckham before, but only for a brief time during the 2015 preseason, when it didn’t matter. However, the Bengals did get plenty of looks at Beckham in the joint practices that took place before the actual game, so they at least have an idea of what to expect from the star receiver in Week 10.
"Oh, yeah, of course he's in that top tier [of NFL receivers]," Bengals cornerback Adam Jones said of Beckham, via ESPN this week. "The kid is a freak. He can do it all. He's got real good speed. He runs decent routes. He competes every play. He's the real deal. He's got a lot."
Beckham caught two touchdown passes in Sunday’s Week 9 win over the Eagles, making him the first player since the 1967 season with 30 receiving scores in his first 35 games. He also has more receiving yards through his first 35 games than anyone since 1965 has had in their first 40 games.
Don’t let Beckham’s 5’11”, 198-pound frame fool you. He’s great at breaking tackles and racking up yards after catch, 250 to be exact this season, 20 behind Green.
"You have to make sure you tackle him," Jones said. "He's a big chunk yard after the catch [receiver]. He runs good routes. He can stretch the field. He's a complete receiver."
But while Beckham is an elite receiver, Jones doesn’t consider him the same caliber of receiver that Green is.
"When you talk about A.J. and you talk Beckham, it's two different players," Jones said Tuesday. "I'm not taking nothing away from Beckham, but I'm definitely not going to take nothing away from 18."
Entering Week 10, Green is second in the NFL with 896 receiving yards and first in yards per game (112). Beckham is seventh in receiving yardage (676) and yards per game (84.5), though his supporting cast has allowed New York to spread the ball around more, whereas Cincinnati has to rely heavily on Green.
Having both of these players in one game will make Monday’s clash in New York even more intriguing to watch.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, they’ve struggled to slow down just about any passing offense thus far, and the secondary is a big reason why. Entering Week 10, Cincinnati ranks 25th in total defense, 19th in scoring defense, 21st in opponent third-down conversion rate, 23rd in opponent passer rating, 23rd in passing scores allowed, and 24th in yards per pass allowed.
If they don’t improve coming out of the bye week, Beckham is going to make Monday night a long one in the Big Apple.