The Cincinnati Bengals are entering week 4 as they prepare to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. With every game of the season, there will be things to watch and focus on. Here are five things to watch for in week 4.
1. Can the Bengals Keep Their Foot on the Gas?
This week, the Bengals are playing Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bengals actually have more talent on their roster than the Jaguars, but Minshew loves to chuck the ball around, so it could be close. Although the Bengals are favored to win, they should get ready for a game with a lot of offense.
With that in mind, will the Bengals be able to really let this offense loose? In the second half of the game against the Eagles, Joe Burrow played well. In this game, the Bengals should let him throw a lot because it should be a shootout and because Burrow has earned that right. With that, Burrow should be able to have a big day if the playcalling allows him to do so.
2. Bengals OL vs. Jags’ Pass Rush
The Jags shed their roster of a lot of talent over the last two years. One thing that they still have is a good, young pass rushing duo. Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson will be haunting quarterbacks for the next few seasons, or for as long as the team can keep them in Jacksonville. Allen made the Pro Bowl last season and has a sack this season. Chaisson is a rookie who is still learning, but he also has a sack on the year.
After watching Burrow almost get killed by a hit that Malik Jackson laid on him against the Eagles, these two could pose a problem for the Bengals’ offensive line. If the Bengals lose this game, it will likely because those two were able to generate pressure. If they can be kept at bay, the Bengals should be able to win the game.
3. Offensive Line Adjustments
In the game against the Eagles, the Bengals had Fred Johnson start at right guard. Billy Price was inserted later in the game at the position. As is usual with this team, Bobby Hart struggled at right tackle and Jonah Williams is still an inconsistent rookie. One thing is clear though: Zac Taylor needs to start making even more adjustments to get a unit that is at least better than what they are now.
The offense won’t get better if the offensive line doesn’t change. The highest-graded player on the offensive line by Pro Football Focus is Jonah Williams. He is ranked as the 38th best tackle out of 71 who are eligible. There is no way an NFL team can get by without at least trying to do something differently. If Burrow doesn’t have time to throw and Mixon has no space to run, it will be another two-win season for the Bengals. If Burrow gets hurt, it could really hurt his career trajectory.
4. Can Joe Mixon get Going?
Bengals fans and fantasy managers alike already know that Mixon has been struggling. Mixon has 154 yards on 52 attempts. His average of 3.1 yards per carry is the lowest of his career. As mentioned in previous posts, a bad offensive line hasn’t stopped him before. He has always done well without great blocking.
Against the Jaguars, Mixon needs to start running the ball well for the team to win. Jacksonville ranks in the middle of the pack for a run defense in the league. The Bengals’ first three opponents all rank in the top 11 for run defense. If there was a time to get things going, it would be this game.
5. Secondary’s Play
The secondary played solidly for the Bengals against the Eagles, which helped them come away with a tie. Carson Wentz was held to just 225 passing yards and also threw two interceptions. LeShaun Sims and Logan Wilson each picked of Wentz in the game, as Wentz really struggled.
Their play against the Eagles was good, but should be taken with a grain of salt. The Eagles were decimated by injuries to their wide receivers and offensive line. In this game, the Jaguars will have solid receivers in Keelan Cole, D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Laviska Shenault. The secondary’s ability to keep all of them in check will help determine the outcome of the game.
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