Kickoff Sunday, Oct 17th 1:00pm Eastern

Bengals (
25) at

Lions (

Over/Under 46.5


Key Matchups
Bengals Run D
28th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
Lions Run O
4th DVOA/5th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
21st DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Lions Pass O
9th DVOA/9th Yards per pass
Lions Run D
3rd DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
22nd DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Lions Pass D
16th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
14th DVOA/26th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86 >>
  • This is a big game for the Bengals as they come off a tough overtime loss to the Packers.
  • The Lions are lacking in talent but have been playing hard and well, giving their opponents a good fight every week.
  • Both teams are in the bottom six in the league in pace of play and the team more likely to control the game (Cincinnati) is 22nd in the league in pass rate.
  • Neither team has been taking part in high scoring games recently, but there are some underlying ingredients that could lead to a breakout game.

How CINCINNATI Will Try To Win ::

Cincinnati was one of the most pass-happy teams in the NFL in 2020, especially before Joe Burrow went down. It has been one of the bigger surprises so far this season from a philosophy standpoint to see them drop to 22nd in the league in pass to run ratio, through five games. Zooming out, it does make some sense as they try to protect Joe Burrow in his return from a torn ACL behind a questionable offensive line (20th graded unit by PFF in pass blocking). It appears they could be moving back towards a more pass heavy mindset, however, as Joe Burrow has thrown 35 pass attempts per game over the last two weeks after only averaging 25 attempts in the first three weeks. The emergence of Ja’Marr Chase as a blossoming superstar and the return of second year stud receiver Tee Higgins also likely have contributed to the recent increased pass rate, and in theory, these developments should make that more likely to continue.

Detroit is not good in any area, as they are bottom eight in the league in every DVOA category —  run and pass offense, as well as run and pass defense. This means that Cincinnati should be able to attack them in any manner that they choose. This seems to me to be the perfect spot to really get Joe Burrow rolling against the Lions 32nd-graded coverage unit by PFF. The trio of Chase, Higgins, and Tyler Boyd should be able to run circles around the outmatched Detroit secondary, and the Bengals must know that if they want to really do something this season, they are going to need to get this passing attack rolling. Finally, at full strength, and with five weeks’ worth of reps to sharpen things up, this spot screams for the Bengals passing attack to come alive. In their only other good passing game matchup of the year, Burrow went for 348 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars while playing on a short week and without Tee Higgins. Cincinnati will likely be more aggressive than we have seen out of the gate, resulting in more explosive offense early and more scoring opportunities late, when they can turn to their running game to salt the game away.

How detroit Will Try To Win ::

Detroit is actually doing a good job this year of making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Lacking in talent in many areas, their receiving corps and secondary in particular, they have found a way to stay competitive. The 49ers jumped on them in Week 1, but they fought back and finished with a one score game. Their Week 2 game in Green Bay was much closer than the final score indicated for three-quarters of the game. Over the last three weeks, they probably should have beaten both the Ravens and the Vikings, while playing a tough, low scoring game against the Bears. Given their huge lack of talent, and obviously having no chance at making the playoffs this season, it is laudable how hard Dan Campbell has his squad playing.

The blueprint is pretty clear for the Lions again this week as they will try to do the same thing they did to the Ravens and Vikings:

  • Bend but don’t break defense that holds their opponent to field goals
  • Control the clock and try to extend drives to shorten the game
  • Keep things low scoring and close late into the game and hope things break their way in the closing minutes

After losing another wide receiver, Quintez Cephus, to injury this week the Lions receiving corps has somehow become even less imposing. Their offense primarily runs through their running backs and TJ Hockenson, though Hockenson has also appeared hobbled recently. This approach should continue, with their 27th-ranked situation-neutral pace of play unlikely to change knowing their deficiencies in their secondary on the other side of the ball. One bright spot for the Lions has been their running game behind their offensive line, which is currently graded 12th by PFF in run blocking. They are likely to lean into this relative strength as they attempt to slow the game down and keep it within reach. The Bengals have the 7th ranked defense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metrics, which should make things difficult for the Lions to consistently move the ball, but they may at least be able to control the clock and field position to the point where they are able to stay competitive in a lower scoring game.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

The Bengals offensive approach and success early in this game will be the driving force on the game flow. The most likely outcome is moderate to high offensive success for the Bengals, resulting in the Lions increasing their pace of play and aggressiveness in play calling. As outlined earlier, the Bengals have been very run heavy but there are many factors pointing in the direction of a more pass focused game plan here. The likeliest game flow is the Bengals taking control through aggressive passing early in the game and then moving to a more run focused plan, as the game progresses due to the unlikely nature of Detroit being able to match their offensive output. No team has scored over 24 points in regulation of a Bengals game this season, but this week sets up as a high likelihood of the Bengals breaking that streak.



DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Jared Goff:

  • Passing vs CIN: Cousins (351:2) // CHI (116:1:1) // Ben (318:1:2) // Lawrence (204:0) // Rodgers (344:2:1)
  • Goff in 2021: 338:3:1 // 246:2:1 // 217:0 // 299:2 // 203:0:1
  • CIN ranks 12th in defensive pass DVOA
  • Losing C Frank Ragnow for the season early vs CHI, Goff has now been sacked 8 times & lost 3 fumbles in the last two games vs CHI/MIN (6 & 1 in first 3 weeks)
  • CHI & MIN have the 1st & 2nd most sacks in NFL; CIN has the 7th most with 13
  • Despite all the sacks, CIN has actually generated the 8th lowest pressure rate (PFR)
  • DET may return LT Taylor Decker, although Sewell has performed much better at LT than he did at RT in the preseason


  • Tyrell Williams is still on IR and just lost Quintez Cephus for the year
  • St. Brown has been almost exclusively slot to start his career (79.8%)
  • St. Brown last two weeks: 6:70 // 7:65
  • Raymond had been the most productive DET WR (games of 50, 68, 46 yds) before having zero catches in W5
  • Top WRs vs CIN: Thielen (9:92:2), Osborn (7:76) // Mooney (6:66) // Claypool (9:96) // Viska (6:99) // Adams (11:206:1)
  • Underperforming WRs vs CIN: Jefferson (5:71) // ARob (2:24) // Juju (3:25) // MJJ (3:24)

TJ Hockenson:

  • Targets: 10 // 9 // 2 // 8 // 3
  • Yards: 97:1 // 66:1 // 10 // 42 // 22
  • Hock’s snaps have been trending from less slot to more inline
  • TEs vs CIN: Conklin (4:41) // Kmet (1:0) // Freiermuth (3:22:1) // Arnold (2:29) // Lewis (2:34)
  • CIN allowed the 6th most TE DK pts/g in 2020 (14.8), but is allowing the 5th fewest through five weeks of weak opponents in 2021 (7.5)


  • Rush att: Swift (11, 8, 14, 8, 11) // Williams (9, 7, 12, 14, 13)
  • Rushing success rate: Swift (44.2%) // Williams (58.2%)
  • Williams has earned more carries over recent weeks due to his effectiveness as a runner
  • Williams has rushed for more yds in 3 of 5 games
  • CIN ranks 7th in defensive rush DVOA
  • Top RBs rushing vs CIN: Cook (20:61:1) // Monty (20:61) // Najee (14:40) // Robinson (18:72:2) // Jones (14:103)
  • 57 of Jones 103 yds came on a single run with a minute left in 4th
  • CIN has allowed just 10 explosive runs by RBs on 100 RB rush att
  • Swift still has total control of the receiving work, with 35 targets to Williams 16
  • Swift has 5+ tg in every game (11, 5, 7, 6, 6)
  • Notable receiving lines allowed to RBs by CIN: Cook (6:43) // Najee (14:102) // Dillon (4:49:1)
  • Swift’s rec DK pts: 20.5 // 8.1 // 13 // 7.3 // 11.3

Joe Burrow:

  • Burrow averaged 41 pass att/g in 2020
  • Burrow’s pass att in 2021: 27, 30, 18, 32, 38
  • DET is giving up the highest yds/att (10.0)
  • Burrow’s yds/att by game: 9.7 // 6.9 // 9.6 // 10.9 // 7.4
  • Burrow’s one score of 25+ DK pts this year came against a JAC defense giving up the 2nd highest yds/att (9.5)
  • DET is allowing the 2nd most fantasy points per pass att in 2021 (per @TJHernandez)
  • DET has an INT in three straight
  • Burrow has thrown 6 INT on the season


  • Targets with all 3: Chase (7, 4, 10) // Higgins (5, 10, 7) // Boyd (4, 9, 5)
  • Top CIN WR score by week: Chase (23.9) // Higgins (18) // Chase (22.5) // Boyd (23.8) // Chase (30.9)
  • DET has allowed a 100-yd WR in 4 of 5 games, and the one they didn’t was only due to multiple easy Brown drops that would’ve pushed him over 100 yds
  • Those WRs: Deebo (9:189:1) // Adams (8:121) // Mooney (5:125) // Jefferson (7:124)
  • Chase has 50+ yds in every game: 101 // 54 // 65 // 77 // 159
  • Higgins had 10:118:2 in the first two games before an underwhelming first game back (5:32)

Joe Mixon:

  • Mixon’s volume (att, tg): (29, 4) // (20, 2) // (18, 1) // (16, 2) // (10, 1)
  • Mixon played his lowest snap count of the season vs GB due to playing through injury
  • Mixon rush yds: 127 // 69 // 90 // 67 // 33
  • Top RB rush yds vs DET: Mitchell (19:104:1) // Jones (17:67:1) // Murray (7:28) // Monty (23:106:2) // Mattison (25:113)
  • Jones & Mattison also added 40+ yds through the air and a combined 4 rec TDs, while Damien Williams finished with 55 yds, TD after Monty left early with injury
  • DET ranks 28th in defensive rush DVOA
  • Mixon’s 3 career games as Road Favorite (DK pts): 8.8 // 25.9 // 9.3 ::
  • 17:29, 4:19 (W 31-7, Dalton 286:4)
  • 17:95:1, 5:54 (W 34-23, Dalton 243:2:1)
  • 21:50, 2:23 (L 35-38, Dalton 396:4)