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NFL Week 11 Bengals at Broncos: 5 player matchups to watch

Cincinnati travels to Denver to play a team who has largely had their number in recent years. Which Broncos players do the Bengals need to lock up this Sunday in an effort to salvage their 2017 season?

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Last time the Bengals faced the Broncos, Denver exploited a number of mismatches. Both teams currently sit at 3-6, and Cincinnati is working to find their own set of key facets to go in their favor as they prep for the matchup.

Here are some of the most intriguing head-to-head player battles to watch this Sunday.

Bengals cornerback William Jackson versus Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders:

We largely see Adam Jones as the Bengals’ corner on the right side. Last year, Jones and Sanders battled, with the receiver dominating the game with nine catches, 117 yards and two touchdowns.

Obviously, Demaryius Thomas and Dre Kirkpatrick is another battle to watch, but with Jones battling a concussion, Jackson looks as if he’ll step into a starting role. It’s going to be interesting to see if Jackson’s speed can match Sanders’, as well as if the veteran can take advantage of the second-year corner. Jackson has been on the injury report this week with a toe injury, but due to Jones’ concussion, he’ll likely be playing regardless.

Bengals tight end Tyler Kroft versus Broncos safety Darian Stewart:

After having a string of nice games from Weeks 4-9, Kroft was quieted last week by the Titans. Part of the problem resided in some very predictable play-calling, which resulted in a few targets getting batted away.

Brandon LaFell had a great game last week, but has disappeared in other contests and since the Bengals simply refuse to try John Ross in any capacity, this week is big for Kroft. Stewart has one interception this year and is known as a pretty solid tackler, so this should be a decent back-and-forth when he’s tasked with watching Kroft.

Bengals center Russell Bodine versus Broncos defensive tackle Domata Peko:

While Peko had a solid 11-year career for the Bengals, most fans soured on him in the final seasons of his stint in Cincinnati. He’s having a very nice year for the Broncos in their 3-4 system and they’ve lauded his play, as the team sits at No. 5 against the run.

Bodine has, well, been Bodine again in 2017. It’s probable that Cincinnati will want to try and establish the run this week, so it will be interesting to see who gets the better of a matchup between two recent whipping boys in the eyes of Bengals fans.

Bengals defensive back Josh Shaw versus Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler:

With William Jackson getting nicked up last week, along with Jones’ concussion, Shaw was pressed into slot corner duties. It didn’t go well, as the third-year defensive back surrendered three defensive penalties against Titans receivers, including one on Eric Decker on Tennessee’s final drive.

It wasn’t totally his fault though, as Dave Lapham noted he had been practicing at safety all week, now that Derron Smith is with Cleveland. Osweiler had a decent game for Denver last week, but they lost and he’s thrown just two touchdowns against three interceptions, along with a 62.5 rating. If Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard and Jackson can keep Thomas and Sanders in check, Osweiler may look at guys Shaw is covering.

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict versus Broncos running back Jamaal Charles:

C.J. Anderson is the Broncos’ starter at running back, but Charles has proven that he still has a little juice left. Burfict hasn’t played as well in the middle while filling in for Kevin Minter and things came to a head last Sunday, as No. 55 was tossed from the game before halftime.

If Charles get a handful of touches on Sunday, Burfict will need to be more of a sideline-to-sideline player when he has the ball. He’ll also need to be readily available for the Bengals for all four quarters.