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HoosierCat

Week 7: Bengals @ Ravens

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But I hope he has a plan if they do….

 

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Yeah, national media is starting to notice the d. From espn+‘s piece today on the 5 most improved teams so far:
 

Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)

Preseason FPI playoff chances: 15.3%
Current FPI playoff chances: 52.5%
Difference: Plus-37.2%

The Bengals are back! Like the Cardinals, we haven't seen Cincinnati in the playoffs or really in the playoff picture since 2015, when it had a 16-15 lead on the Steelers with 1:36 to go in the wild-card game, only for Jeremy Hill to fumble and a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties handed Pittsburgh a chip-shot field goal. This team went 25-53-2 over the five ensuing seasons. Now, FPI projects the Bengals to finish with 9.2 wins, which would be their first winning record since that 2015 campaign.

To the contrary, Lou Anarumo's defense has been driving the success. The Bengals rank fifth in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing 18.5 points per contest. They also rank fifth in EPA per play on that side of the ball and seventh in defensive win probability added. If anything, they've run a little cold; the Bengals are fifth in EPA per play on first and second down but only 19th on third down.

The Bengals have spurred improvement on that side of the ball with signings the past couple of years. Trae Waynes has played only two games this season, but cornerback Eli Apple has started in his place and looked like an effective starter for the first time since 2018. Apple has allowed a 90.4 passer rating in coverage as the nearest defender. Mike Hilton and Vonn Bell have been acceptable, but Chidobe Awuziehas been excellent, posting a 70.7 passer rating allowed.

I've got to eat some crow, however. I didn't love the Bengals swapping Carl Lawson for Trey Hendricksonthis offseason. The former Saints edge rusher had only one season with significant production, and the Bengals were guaranteeing Hendrickson what amounted to $20 million for the 2021 season. The track record of teams guaranteeing No. 1 money to edge rushers with short track records who were the No. 2 guys on their old teams hasn't been good.

Well, I was wrong about Za'Darius Smith joining the Packers, and I have been wrong about Hendrickson through six games. The 26-year-old has 5.5 sacks and 11 knockdowns in six games. He's comfortably been the best pass-rusher for the Bengals, although former Giants tackle B.J. Hill has chipped in with three sacks. Eight of the 12 most used players on Cincinnati's defense are players who were signed in free agency, and that doesn't include Waynes. I don't know how often that formula works, but the Bengals are having plenty of success with it.

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Yes, expecting a loss, but will not be at all surprised if they pull out a win.
They could very easily be 6-0 right now, having lost both those games by a field goal.
I think they showed in the Green Bay game that they can hang.  They just need to be able to close things out.

Love hearing Hilton speak up for Bates.  EVERY game I have watched so far has resulted in:
"They really need to extend Bates".  He's everywhere and makes his presence felt on the field.
C'mon Bengals just do the right thing and take care of the man.  He's more than earned it.

BJ Hill for Billy Price.  Every time I see one of their names mentioned, I just giggle.
Who the hell is this Trae Waynes guy I keep hearing about ???  Figment of our collective imagination...

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19 hours ago, HoosierCat said:

Yeah, national media is starting to notice the d. From espn+‘s piece today on the 5 most improved teams so far:
 

I've got to eat some crow, however. I didn't love the Bengals swapping Carl Lawson for Trey Hendricksonthis offseason.

Default off-season national media take:  “The Bengals did something so it must be wrong.”

Also, if you watched the Sunday night game between the Seahawks and the Steelers, Collinsworth took his Steeler worship to a new level. It was embarrassing.  

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59 minutes ago, COB said:

Default off-season national media take:  “The Bengals did something so it must be wrong.”

Also, if you watched the Sunday night game between the Seahawks and the Steelers, Collinsworth took his Steeler worship to a new level. It was embarrassing.  

I haven’t been able to stand Collinsworth for years.

Re the national media, we already know they actively root against the Bengals being any good because the market and the team are small change to their bottom line. But they have a problem brewing this year. As expected the Ravens are good…but Ben is a shell of his former self and it’s increasingly clear Pitt is going nowhere. That’s not a total disaster for them since even a bad Steelers team will draw lots of eyeballs thanks to its big national fan base, but it’s no good for the horse race narrative. Can’t have a race with just one horse. Cleveland would be their preference, and they’ve been pimping the team hard the last couple offseasons, but as usual the Browns just can’t seem to pull it all together and now Baker is hurt.

So they’re down to the Bengals. Which means it’s time to start belatedly praising their offseason, among other things. If the trends in the division all continue, expect more plaudits to come their way. They’ll still be all in on the Ravens tho.

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Agree with this

 

  • Like 1

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Let's see which goons out in the national sports media peg Mac Jones as OROY this week. It was still happening last week.

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I think Boyd knows there'll be more games like Jacksonville where he just eats up targets all day. It's Higgins I would like to see more involved -- he isn't lacking in targets (at least not by comparison to Chase), but perhaps he could be given more route freedom down the field to generate some separation. He might be hampered still by returning from the missed games. It's a good problem to have, because I don't think anyone's going to question Tee's ability.

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1 hour ago, membengal said:

Agree with this

 

I too am hoping for schematic parity.

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