News and views on all things American Football from a fans perspective

Eagles @ Bengals Preview

The Bengals play the Eagles today in a game that would have been a good matchup had the Bengals had a healthy AJ Green and the Eagles not just come off a game against the Packers in which their much vaunted pass rush failed to pressure QB Aaron Rodgers.

Another factor in the Eagles loss to Green Bay was the defense’s inability to get off the field on third down. Rodgers and the Packers converted 71% of their third downs, including several third and longs. This is good news for the Bengals as they’ve only converted 36.6% of their third downs on the year. I asked Sky Sports’ Jeff Reinebold what he made of it. He said “If you watch the Packers the thing that upsets the rhythm of their pass game is press coverage – Eagles played into Rodgers hands with too much off coverage!” After the game, Jordan Hicks stated that the Eagles must get better – a bit of an understatement? The Eagles have one of the least threatening receiving corps in the NFL. Two of their main weapon (Dorial Green-Beckham and Bryce Treggs) weren’t even on the team at the start of training camp. Perhaps this is the game that Paul Turner, an undrafted free agent and their most productive receiver in pre-season, sees a significant number of targets.

Philadelphia will be without leading rusher Ryan Matthews and, with Darren Sproles nursing a broken rib, will turn to their explosive rookie Wendell Smallwood. Smallwood is averaging a respectable 4.4 yards per carry. Smallwood is surpassing his fifth round status and it will be interesting to see how the Bengals front copes. They’ve allowed an average of 120.5 yards per game and a number of big plays.

Regardless the Bengals defensive backs are unlikely to fear the boys from Philly. In fact, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and the rest of the Bengals defensive backs are likely licking their lips at the chance of facing Carson Wentz with such a depleted arsenal.

Adam Jones at the Bengals Press conference at Allianz Park in October

Without Green the Bengals have looked lost this year, with Andy Dalton relying on receiver Brandon LaFell, (rookie) Tyler Boyd and Jeremy Hill, a player who has flashes of big time ability.

In theory not having to feed the receiving phenom that is A J Green should allow Andy Dalton to play his progressions and find the open man. The problem is that they haven’t shown enough to make me believe they can win this one.

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