Behind Enemy Lines: Cincinnati Bengals
By Josh McSwain
Before the showdown with the Bengals, some Q&A were exchanged. My answers are here, and here is the insight on the Bengals from Matthew Willson of Stripe Hype:
1. What has gone wrong for the Bengals this season after making the playoffs for five straight years?
It has been a number of different things that have been the demise of the Bengals in 2016. First has been the disbanding of the Cincinnati Bengals offensive weapons. Although Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell have both stepped up in key situations, Marvin Jones, A.J. Green, and Tyler Eifert were the three musketeers. They worked well together, Andy Dalton’s relationship with these three were never in question and Marvin Jones took some pressure off of A.J. Green.
Second, Ken Zampese is not an offensive coordinator, he is a quarterbacks coach. His ability to adjust in game is terrible and can’t get back into a groove with his offensive staff. Andy Dalton may like his coach calling the shots, but nobody else should.
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2. Andy Dalton has struggled against the Texans during his first five seasons in the league. How will he attack this Texans defense?
The biggest missing piece to the Texans success has been J.J. Watt and getting pressure on Dalton. Without Watt, the rest of the Texans defensive line is not the same. Dalton has struggled when not given enough time to make plays and with the struggles of the offensive, not facing Watt should help ease some fears for the Bengals.
3. With a quarterback making his first start, the defense must be licking its chops. How will the defense come after the Texans offense?
The Bengals have two of the best defensive rushers in the game, both have struggled early but have found some ground as of late. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are definitely looking to test Tom Savage’s composure and ability to take a hit. I would not be shocked to see a few safety blitzes called up and stacking the box to get Savage throwing off his back foot and making audibles into traps.
4. How likely will Marvin Lewis be fired?
Although it would answer half of Bengals’ fans prayers, it would not be shocking to see him back in 2017. The Bengals organization don’t ordinarily fire head coaches. Typically, their contracts run out and are not renewed. Mike Brown has not been one to pull off a firing, but with how disappointing this season was, there could be a first for everything.
5. What’s your prediction?
Bengals find a way to play spoiler in Houston and win 21-17. Savage has a better day than Osweiler but still shows he needs time to grow.