To everybody’s surprise, it has been the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense that is the strength of the team through three games. Lou Anarumo’s unit has been swarming, opportunistic, and downright solid in just about every aspect.
The Bengals are allowing just 18 points per game (sixth best in the NFL) and only 317 yards through the air and 78.3 yards on the ground on average (both are eighth best). Meanwhile, they are tied for fourth in the league with 10 sacks and have four takeaways.
But perhaps most importantly, the Bengals are the fifth best defensive team in DVOA, a metric created by Football Outsiders. This defense-adjusted value over average is derived from looking at every play and judging how the offense or defense performs based on the situation.
Their stout defense has helped them become the ninth overall team in DVOA.
Here are the new top teams in DVOA. This is the last week without opponent adjustments. New No. 1 team.— Aaron Schatz (@FO_ASchatz) September 27, 2021
1 #AZCardinals 45.3%
2 #Broncos 43.9%
3 #Browns 41.0%
4 #Rams 40.6%
5 #Panthers 40.5%
6 #Bills 36.4%
7 #Seahawks (!) 25.1%
8 #Buccaneers 22.7%
9 #Bengals (!)
That defense might have its best day yet on Thursday, when Cincinnati hosts rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars. To hear why we think the defense will win the day, watch our preview with James Johnson, host of the Bleav in Jaguars podcast:
You can also listen to the preview on iTunes or using the player below: