The Cincinnati Bengals head to Foxborough for a game against the New England Patriots on Saturday. This will be Joe Burrow’s first game against the franchise, and we all know Bill Belichick goes out of his way to confuse QBs that have never seen his defense before. So who should the Bengals be most worried about?
The seventh-year edge rusher is second in the NFL in sacks with 14.5, which is already a career high. He will be lined up against La’el Collins, who has been wildly inconsistent this year. This is not an ideal matchup. Thankfully, Frank Pollack’s o-line has gotten a lot better at passing pass rushers off in recent weeks.
Matthew Judon joins Nick Bosa on 14.5 sacks this season! pic.twitter.com/mDzgaGgcbR— NFL UK (@NFLUK) December 13, 2022
The third-year edge rusher is not far behind his partner in crime on the other side, with 10.5 sacks already this year. Needless to say, this has been a breakout year for the Michigan product.
While the Bengals have faced TJ Watt, Myles Garrett, and Micah Parsons so far, this may be the first time this season that they’ve faced two top-tier pass rushers in the same game. Jonah Williams and Collins will both have to have good games for the pass offense to play at a high level.
The rookie cornerback has been a slam dunk of a third round pick so far. Despite being just 5’8” and 175 pounds, he can hang with the best receivers in the game.
But he’s also a dynamic kick returner.
I've talked to multiple league talent evaluators that believe #Patriots DB Marcus Jones (@MarcusJonesocho!) is the next superstar punt returner/utility man. As you can see on this punt return the speed is otherworldly, FTW. @malkikawa @FirstRoundMgmt pic.twitter.com/rElo1PPnS8— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) December 13, 2022
This angle of Marcus Jones’ game winning punt return TD : pic.twitter.com/lT2IPUQs9a— Mike Kadlick (@mikekadlick) November 20, 2022
And he can even make an impact on offense.
A player like that is what you call an ‘x-factor’, as he’s capable of swinging momentum in New England’s favor with one big play.
At 6’0” and 230 pounds, the second-year running back out of Oklahoma is tough to bring down. It’s no surprise he’s averaging a hearty 5.0 yards a carry and on his way to his first 1,000 yard rushing season.
Most of Rhamondre Stevenson's best runs were to the right behind Onwenu, McDermott, and Henry. Cole Strange also got some nice seals vs Maxx Crosby— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) December 19, 2022
This was one of Mondre's best games, showing vision + quick feet on zone cutbacks and finishing runs with excellent contact balance pic.twitter.com/AbRKJS3Tyw
Should the Patriots defense shut down the Bengals’ offense for a few drives, Stevenson could start to wear down Cincinnati’s tremendous rush defense and help quarterback Mac Jones get comfortable.
The legendary head coach is coming off arguably the most embarrassing loss of his stellar career, a last-second botched lateral against the Las Vegas Raiders.
So he will be angry. Well, he always seems angry. Let’s say angrier than normal. And he’ll be looking to take it out on the hottest team in the league. Don’t be surprised if Belichick throws the kitchen sink at Burrow to make a point.
Okay, now you’re turn.
Which Patriot scares you the most?
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