The 4-2 Cincinnati Bengals will travel to Detroit at 1:00pm on Sunday to take on the 4-2 Lions in a game that features two teams that are essentially even on paper. The Bengals will be looking to maintain first place in the AFC North as the Lions will try to keep pace with the Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North. This game looks to be a good test for both teams.
This matchup will feature two of the best receivers in the game, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson of the Lions and AJ Green of the Bengals. Johnson is still recovering from a knee injury so the Lions’ coaching staff expects him to only play 80% of the offensive snaps on Sunday. The Bengals’ secondary finally has all its starters healthy and ready to go, so expect a good game out of the Lions’ pass game who is ranked sixth in the league versus a Bengals’ pass defense who is ranked 9th in the league.
Another dominant similarity between these two teams are their powerhouse defensive linemen. The Lions have NFL bad boy Ndamukong Suh and the Bengals feature D-lineman Geno Atkins. The running games for both these teams have been taking off the past couple weeks, with the Bengals finding a good balance between rookie Giovani Bernard and veteran BenJarvus Green Ellis and Reggie Bush finally getting healthy for the Lions. It will be a good test for both defenses to see who can contain the run better.
Andy Dalton had a great game last week that included three touchdown passes and his first 300 yard passing game in almost a year. He did a great job of spreading the ball to all his receivers, and if he can do that again this week the Bengals will have a good shot at winning this game. Dalton just needs to limit his mistakes and not throw costly interceptions in the red zone that he has been prone to do all season.
When the Bengals’ offense is clicking on all cylinders, it can be a tough one to handle, as with the Lions’ offense. It will be interesting to see whose defense can hold up longer, and I think the Bengals have this one. They have the advantage because they have experience and better health in the secondary. The Lions’s secondary is too young compared to the experience of Leon Hall, Reggie Nelson, and Adam Jones of the Bengals.
This matchup with be neck and neck until the end, but I think the Bengals have the edge to come out on top. If they want to take that next step and prove they are a force to be reckon with, then it’s the games like this they need to win, where they are virtually even with the Lions on paper and they should go out there and prove why they are the better team. The defense will be able to stop the run and if they do that, forcing Stafford to throw a lot will for sure force him to make a few mistakes, some which may come back to haunt him in the end. Bengals will win 27-24, and continue on their hot streak.