The Cincinnati Bengals will be looking to get the awful taste of last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers out of their mouth against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The Colts have been one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. They’ve also been without star quarterback Andrew Luck all season, and after suffering a set back there isn’t a real time frame for when he will return. Making things worse for the Colts, their defense is ranked near the bottom of every major defensive category.
That’s all the better for the Bengals who need a get-right-game before they head off on a three game road trip.
Here are five player matchups we’ll be keeping an eye on when the Colts come to town in Week 8.
Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green vs Colts cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin and Vontae Davis
Green has been great when given the chance this season. Last week he was held without a reception in the second half, which is frustrating for everyone. Melvin hasn’t practiced this week due to a concussion and Davis didn’t practice on Wednesday because the Colts were giving him rest. It seems Melvin may miss the game so Green will likely be matched up with Davis.
The Bengals’ success in this game may be tied to whether Andy Dalton and Green start connecting like they’re supposed to again.
Bengals offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi vs Colts pass rusher Jabaal Sheard
Sheard isn’t a new face for the Bengals. He is a former Brown, but he never lined up against Ogbuehi during his time in Cleveland. Sheard currently has 2.5 sacks this season, and it will be up to Ogbuehi to make this the third straight week where Sheard doesn’t record a sack.
Ogbuehi needs to ensure the Colts don’t get in Dalton’s face like the Steelers did. If he fails to do that, this game could become disappointing very quickly.
Bengals cornerback William Jackson vs Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton
This is more of me trying to will the Bengals to start Jackson even if Adam Jones is healthy this week. Do I think Jones can do the job against Hilton? Of course. I’d rather see the Bengals young corner who just shut down Antonio Brown last week show he can do it again with Hilton this week. Hilton is averaging 19 yards per catch this season, and shutting him down is one of the biggest concerns for defenses going against the Colts. Jones was a full participant on Thursday, so expect him to be playing, but Jackson should still see time on defense, too.
Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins vs Colts backup center Mike Person
Ryan Kelly didn’t practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday with knee and pelvis issues. It’s unclear if he will play against the Bengals, but it’s possible a backup center will be suiting up. That means a player like Mike Person (actually his name) may be tasked with slowing down Atkins. Safe to say that would be huge for the rest of the defensive line as well.
Atkins being a force in the middle gives players like Carlos Dunlap and Carl Lawson the opportunity to go after the quarterback without having to worry about being double teamed. It could lead to a long day for Jacoby Brissett who was sacked 10 times last week.
Bengals linebackers vs Colts tight end Jack Doyle
- It isn’t really a secret that the Bengals’ linebackers have struggled in coverage. Nick Vigil and Vontaze Burfict has been great at coming up and making sure tackles, but as far as coverage they haven’t done much. Last week, Burfict and Vigil allowed every pass targeted at them to be completed. Per Pro Football Focus, Burfict allowed two receptions for two yards and allowed 0.09 yards per snap in coverage, eighth best in the NFL last week. Vigil however allowed three receptions for 75 yards and allowed 3.26 yards per snap in coverage, the worst of the week.
Jack Doyle has been a safety blanket for Brissett this season. He has 30 catches in his six games. Odds are, he’ll be more even more in the mix this week as Brissett will likely make a point of getting the ball out of his hands early. Plus, he doesn’t take too many chances.