Last Sunday was very disappointing for Cincinnati Bengals fans, but luckily the Bengals have a chance to put that disappointment behind them quickly. The Bengals will be taking on the Houston Texans for this week’s Thursday Night Football matchup, a primetime game in Cincinnati.
The Bengals had plenty of players who struggled last week who will need to perform better in order for the Bengals to beat one of their more pesky opponents in recent history.
Let’s start out with the most important Bengal who needs to play better this week. Dalton struggled against Baltimore’s defense. It wasn’t all his fault. Terrell Suggs lived in the backfield, and Dalton spent most of the day running for his life. Dalton still has to shoulder a lot of the blame.
No matter how it happened, five turnovers is unacceptable, especially in the red zone. Dalton had two turnovers inside the Ravens’ 20-yard line last week. At the very least those could have been possible field goals on the board or some sort of momentum, but instead, they turned into fuel for the Ravens’ defense.
Dalton’s job doesn’t get much easier against the Texans. J.J. Watt will likely be fired up after the Texans’ opener got ruined by the Jaguars. Plus, the Texans have had a great history of slowing down Dalton. He is 1-5 all time against Houston. Hopefully, he can change the course of this season by doing something he has only done one other time and beat the Texans.
Jones will be rejoining the team on a short week after serving his one-game suspension. His role will likely be as that starting corner in place of Darqueze Dennard, but it hasn’t really been discussed yet.
Either way, it will be interesting to see just how much Jones plays, and if he can help against the Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. There is also a chance he could be feasting on a rookie quarterback as the Texans are deciding whether to start Deshaun Watson or Tom Savage on Thursday.
It was obvious Ogbuehi struggled Sunday, and it is fair to say that can’t continue. If Dalton is going to survive at least 16 games, Ogbuehi needs to do a better job.
Ogbuehi knows the spotlight is on him after the Bengals let Andrew Whitworth walk away in free agency. Whitworth was the definition of consistent. It was rare the team ever really needed to worry about whoever he was matched up against. That is all different now.
We don’t know how long the Bengals will let Ogbuehi struggle, but it is probably as clear to him as it is to us that he is playing for his job right now.
The Texans had a rough opener like the Bengals. They allowed 10 sacks Sunday. The Bengals should look to exploit that same weakness, and who better to watch for that than Dunlap? Really I should say watch the Texans’ quarterback and see how long it takes for the Bengals’ defensive line to meet on him.
The Bengals did get some pressure on Joe Flacco Sunday, but he only threw the ball 17 times. If the Bengals can get a lead on the Texans that could create plenty of opportunities for Dunlap to pin his ears back against Kendall Lamm.
Bernard was the lone highlight for the Bengals on Sunday. He had a handful of plays where he broke into the open field, and it seemed like he would go the distance.
Bernard was knocked out of last season when he tore his ACL. Plenty of people speculated that he would even be ready for the season opener. He proved he was more than ready. Bernard finished the day with seven carries for 40 yards and one catch for 39 yards. He also collected quite a few broken ankles.
Joe Mixon may have finished with the most touches, but because of Bernard's performance against the stout Ravens’ defense, he is the man to watch on Thursday. Although, you should probably keep an eye out for Mixon as well.