Is this the week, Detroit Lions fans? Could this be the week that the Lions get their first win in the Dan Campbell era? It’s hard to feel confident about this weekend's game against the Cincinnati Bengals because, suddenly, it appears the Bengals are pretty good.
This is the exact type of game that makes your stomach feel like you just ate Skyline Chili. An up-and-coming quarterback with his new up-and-coming receiver on a team that’s dangerous enough to take the Packers, who the Lions got blown out by, to the limit. But are the Bengals the real deal or are they pretenders? We got in touch with our pal Patrick Judis from Cincy Jungle to give us the scoop. Here’s what he had to say:
1. Are the Bengals good? Because it seems like they’re good. Are they good?
“I would say “yes?” in a very non-confident fashion. The thing is this team can look like one that surprises people as a playoff contender for a quite a few drives, but they still look like the same Zac Taylor teams we have watched the past few seasons. The defense will give up third-and-long conversions, but they will also shut down a Packers offense for most of the second half of a game. The offense will have these long methodical drives or seemingly unstoppable deep passes to rookie Ja’Marr Chase. However, they will then go three-and-out on three consecutive drives.
This is a fairly young team and that shows up in the inconsistency. It doesn’t help that Joe Burrow isn’t 100 percent healthy either. Overall, you can see where this team is headed. It just feels like a matter of execution.”
2. What are their strengths?
“It feels strange writing this out, but the Bengals offense has really let down a defense that has played well enough to good in every game so far this season.
One of the reasons so many of Cincinnati’s games seem to be such nail-biters is because the defense has kept them in the game long enough for the offense to get into sync.
People always claim the Bengals to be cheap, but key free agent acquisitions like D.J. Reader, Chidobe Awuzie and Trey Hendrickson have paired with the great young talent that they have developed on their roster already.
Cincinnati hasn’t allowed an opposing team to score more than 25 points, but they have only eclipsed that mark once themselves.”
3. What are their weaknesses?
“Offensive consistency. Plain and simple. This team has spurts where it can put up a couple touchdowns in a row. Then they disappear for quarters. If you take away Chase’s deep touchdown passes, this team is closer to 0-5.”
4. Can we get rid of kickers? The Bengals can’t make kicks and the Lions keep losing to kicks. Can we get rid of them?
“I still have a lot of confidence in Evan McPherson. He already has two game-winning kicks, and if the Bengals were able to get closer than a 57-yard field goal away in regulation he would have three. He has the capability to hit from that distance (and beyond), but clearly something was in the air late in the game there.
To answer your question, no we can’t get rid of kickers now that Cincinnati finally has a good one.”
5. Who’s winning this thing?
“I think the Lions, much like I expected the Jaguars, can be one of those teams that jumps out to an early lead against the Bengals. This is likely to be another too close for comfort game that both teams’ fans probably can’t survive another of.
When we are talking about a game where Cincinnati probably struggles to stop the Lions’ running game late, we probably see Burrow as the deciding factor in the fourth quarter. Can Taylor trust his young quarterback to go win him the game? I hope so, because he absolutely can. But at least I’ll say they lose to a go-ahead touchdown instead of a field goal.
Bengals 27 Lions 25”