The Cincinnati Bengals are entering week 6 as they prepare to take on the Ravens. With every game of the season, there will be things to watch and focus on. Here are five things to watch for in week 6.
1. How Will the Bengals Try to Stop Lamar Jackson?
Over the last several weeks, the Bengals have let young quarterbacks do whatever they want against their defense. Mason Rudolph completed a lot of easy passes, while Kyler Murray was able to create and improvise enough to get the Cardinals the win last week. This week they’ll play a young star quarterback in Lamar Jackson, who figures to be in the AFC North for a long time, which makes it imperative to gameplan well for him in the future.
Last year, in his one contest against the Bengals as a starter, Jackson threw for 150 yards and an interception. He also rushed for 119 yards. Jackson now has more command of the offense and is throwing the ball better, so he could have an even better day against the Bengals. Even if the Bengals lose, for the future of the team, it will be important for them to find the right strategies to stop Jackson moving forward.
2. Will the Defense Tackle?
Tackling is one of the most fundamental parts of the game, but the Bengals only do it well occasionally, which has cost them. It is one of the reasons they have allowed 27.2 points per game this season. If they have any shot at winning this game, which might be a stretch, they have to tackle better.
The Ravens come into this game with the best offense in football at 32.2 points per game. They rush for the second-most yards per game at 192.2, meaning the Bengals will have to limit the big runs by getting to the ball carrier early. If they start missing tackles early, it will be another long day for the defense.
3. Andy Dalton’s Play
Every week Andy Dalton’s play is a point of contention for Cincinnati fans. He has played decently at times, but has also played really poorly at others, which pretty much sums up his career. Dalton needs to play well to give the Bengals a shot due to the running game being awful this season.
He will have a chance for a big day against the Ravens. Baltimore gives up the fourth-most passing yards per game in the league entering this game. They will also be without safety Tony Jefferson who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is still out as well. Dalton has a chance to put up some points and add to his seven touchdown passes this year.
4. Germaine Pratt’s Snap Count
The linebackers have not played well this season for the Bengals. Both Preston Brown and Nick Vigil, who see the vast majority of the snaps, are graded below a 45 on Pro Football Focus. While that reference shouldn’t be taken to heart 100 percent, fans can still see the inconsistencies from the linebackers.
Rookie Germaine Pratt has looked decent in his limited snaps this season. It would be good to start getting him some snaps as the team prepares for the future. The most snaps he has played in a game so far this season is 12, which came in week 4. Pratt was a third-round pick, who should be given more opportunities as the season goes on.
5. Can Tyler Boyd Keep it Up?
Last week with a bunch of injuries to receivers, Boyd stepped up for the Bengals. He finished the game against the Cardinals with 10 catches for 123 yards and a clutch touchdown. It was his best game of the season and for the Bengals to continue to move the ball, they desperately need his level of play to continue.
Boyd will be one of the lone experienced receivers on the field for the Bengals again. A.J. Green and John Ross are both still out. Alex Erickson is even questionable. Boyd will have to produce, while going up against one of the most successful corners on the young season Marlon Humphrey. If he can beat Humphrey it will likely give the Bengals a few big-play opportunities in this game.