There’s no doubt that the Bengals are looking to the offseason at this point in the season. However, part of that process is getting a look at certain young players to gauge their worth in 2018.
Because of so many injuries in the respective groups, a lot of player matchups to watch this week include members of the Bengals’ offensive line and linebacker corps. Here are the top-five matchups to watch this week.
Bengals offensive tackle Eric Winston versus Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah:
In speaking with members of SB Nation’s Pride of Detroit, I found out that the Lions’ pass rush has been inconsistent this year. Ansah remains an athletic threat off of the edge, as evidenced by his six sacks this year.
Cincinnati’s offensive line is an even bigger mess than how it was at the beginning of the year. Andre Smith and Jake Fisher are now on Injured Reserve, while Cedric Ogbuehi is also nursing an injury. Winston, the 12-year veteran, will be anchoring the outside this week and we’ll see if his age can keep up with Ansah’s skills.
Bengals linebacker Jordan Evans versus Lions tight end Eric Ebron:
The Bengals’ rookie linebacker has shown both flashes of promise and the criticisms that made him fall to the sixth round. There’s no doubt that the athleticism is there, but someone on Paul Guenther’s defense has to be able to cover tight ends.
Ebron remains a big threat, but he hasn’t quite lived up to the top-10 status in which he was drafted. Still, tight ends have torched the Bengals over the past couple of years and Ebron could be their kryponite once again this week.
Bengals tight end Tyler Kroft versus Lions safety Glover Quin:
An ancillary weapon aside from A.J. Green needs to step up on offense this week. Brandon LaFell is another way to look, but with Tyler Eifert and John Ross both on I.R., Andy Dalton needs someone to help him out this week.
Kroft has been an adequate replacement for Eifert, as he has nabbed five touchdown grabs this season. Meanwhile, Quin, who came to Detroit in free agency in 2013, has been one of their defensive linchpins. In his five seasons with the Lions, he has 15 interceptions, including three this year.
Bengals offensive guard Alex Redmond versus Lions defensive tackle Akeem Spence:
With the fluidity on the offensive line this week, we might be seeing more of Redmond than we have in his tenure with the Bengals. The team thinks he can play either guard or tackle, so we might see him in a variety of roles this week.
One of the roles he might play is as an extra tackle in “jumbo packages”, but if he mans the right guard spot, he’ll be facing Spence. The fifth-year lineman has 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble this season, so the second-year man out of UCLA will need to be prepped for a tough day.
Bengals defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow versus Lions offensive guard Graham Glasgow:
Really, this one is interesting because of the brother-on-brother matchup. Geno Atkins will be seeing a lot of action against Graham, the older brother of Ryan, but the season out of control and the Bengals wanting to see what they have in a number of youngsters, the battle of the Glasgows should be fun to watch.
Since arriving in Detroit last year, Graham has started 25 games, including all 14 so far this season. Can Ryan get the best of his older brother this week?