Game Overview ::
By papy324 >>
- Neither QB is likely to throw over 40 times.
- Joe Mixon has been a 1A since returning from injury.
- Rhamondre Stevenson is appealing if Harris misses another week.
- The Patriots defense is cheap for being a top five pass rush at home.
How Cincinnati Will Try To Win ::
The 10-4 Bengals come into Week 16 red hot. They’re riding a six-game win streak (the longest in the league) and they are firmly in the mix for a coveted playoff bye, sitting only a game behind the Chiefs but holding the tiebreaker, and a game behind the Bills who they play next week. So, any loss from KC (plays SEA // DEN // LV), plus winning out, would give the Bengals the top seed in the AFC. However, if the Bengals were to drop this game, they would be in danger of being caught in their division by the 9-5 Ravens as Baltimore holds the tiebreaker and finishes with ATL // PIT // CIN. Those scenarios mean the Bengals can easily get the top seed or they can lose their division.
The Bengals play slowly (24th total pace) but that number is somewhat misleading as they start out games moderately (14th situational neutral pace) but crank it way down in the second half (25th in second half pace). Interestingly, they also crawl if they’re losing (31st in pace when trailing), but that is likely to be small sample size noise. The Bengals profile as a team that will play with a moderate pace if the game is close but are more than happy to take their foot off the gas in the second half with a lead. Maybe the greatest comeback in NFL history will teach coaches a lesson about kicking short field goals and trying to run out the clock, but probably not. One thing that is worth noting about the Bengals offense versus others in the league is that while the Bengals slow down considerably with a lead, they don’t change their offense (becoming run, run, run/pass, punt), which is what allows teams to come back. The Bengals might slow down, but they’ll keep trying to get first downs. The Patriots have been stout against the pass (3rd in DVOA) and tough on the ground (9th in DVOA). Technically, they present as a mini run-funnel, but the entire unit can be considered strong (2nd overall DVOA). They also generate a fierce rush (3rd in the league in pressure rate) and the Bengals have the 28th ranked O-line in pass blocking grade per PFF. The Bengals tend to struggle with elite pass rushers, and this must be viewed as a matchup downgrade. They set up about as well as any team can from a scheme perspective against a Bill Belichick defense since they are remarkably balanced and not relying on any one tactic or player to score points. Joe Burrow’s pass attempts have ranged between 31-39 in 13 of his 15 games this year, finishing another game with 42 pass attempts. The lone outlier (52 pass attempts) came all the way back in Week 1 against the Steelers who jumped out to a big lead. Burrow has had an incredibly narrow range of passing attempts this year and it demonstrates how balanced the Bengals offense wants to play.
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