Michael Scofield is the protagonist in one of my favorite TV shows of all-time. But don’t get him confused with Michael Schofield, a former third-round pick who surrendered three sacks to Carlos Dunlap in last year’s matchup between the Bengals and Broncos. The Broncos’ right tackle looked more like the TV actor than a right tackle, as Dunlap went on to break the Bengals’ single-season sack record and franchise sack record in the same game.
With Broncos right tackle Donald Stephenson ruled out for Sunday’s action, Dunlap will likely face Schofield once again. And while the matchup between Von Miller and Cedric Ogbuehi looks like one Denver fans will salivate over, the matchup between Dunlap and Schofield appears to be the biggest mismatch between a defender and an offensive lineman in this week’s upcoming NFL action.
The defensive end hasn’t played poorly through the first two weeks, but his efforts have yet to translate into a sack. Dunlap has tallied 10 tackles, two pass deflections and two quarterback hits through two weeks of action, but he couldn’t beat out former college teammate Marcus Gilbert or Jets backup right tackle Ben Ijalana to record a sack.
That simply won’t cut it, at least to the defensive end.
Dunlap, who has gone on record saying he hopes to break Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record, faces a favorable matchup this week. If he can’t tally multiple sacks this week after failing to record one in his first two games, Dunlap’s chances of coming close to Strahan’s record will be slim-to-none.
"It's hard to get [20 or more]," Dunlap said, per ESPN’s Coley Harvey. "Most of the guys who get those 20 sacks, they're like the only one [on their team] at plus-10. When you've got three guys who can get 10 sacks and a nose tackle who can get five, it's spreading the wealth. So that's good for our team."
The defensive end’s zero sacks through two weeks will make things more difficult, but 20-plus sacks is still a possibility for the defensive end, though unlikely. Dunlap will need just over 1.4 sacks per game to reach 20 sacks, or nearly 1.7 per game to break Strahan’s record with 23 sacks on the season.
But as we’ve seen with the defensive end, who has been a force to be reckoned with when he’s on his game, an outburst of pure dominance can come at any time. Hopefully the defensive end’s success will translate to the box score in Week 2. The Bengals will be going up against a first year starter in Trevor Siemian at quarterback, so adding that into the mix, Dunlap and the Bengals’ defensive line have a great opportunity ahead in Week 3.