Bengals vs Buccaneers : At first glance, the Cincinnati Bengals shouldn’t have a problem against the visiting 3-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But it’s never so simple and those Bengals happen to be just 4-3. Not only have they dropped two in a row, a couple of the marks in the win column only happened because of late-game heroics.
Even so, those details above wouldn’t skew the outlook too much against a struggling Buccaneers team that needed a weird outburst from Ryan Fitzpatrick to even reach .500.
But now we have to add in the injuries – and the Bengals will miss the following guys Sunday:
Miserable coaching from the offensive staff has had the Bengals looking lost the past few weeks. The lack of Giovani Bernard to spell Joe Mixon is a red flag. Missing Tyler Kroft’s reliable hands and John Ross’ defensive-shifting speed will limit chances for other weapons.
And defensively, the Bengals missing their top two linebackers is something the Buccaneers can and will exploit with the talented tight end duo of O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.
Speaking of game planning, the lack of Dennard is a major red flag for the Bengals as well. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson on the outside will keep William Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick busy, for better or worse, and the lack of Dennard will help Tampa Bay create mismatches at will.
Not only are the Bengals down key players, they have a major tackling issue and the normally elite defensive line has hardly generated pressure over the past two weeks. That lack of pressure is what caused coaches to call an all-out blitz on Pittsburgh’s game-winning score two weeks ago.
This isn’t saying the Bengals are going to lose, but any idea this is an easy game for the home team is severely misguided. And keep in mind if they were to lose, they would be .500 and Marvin Lewis teams are terrible out of the bye – just in time for a Week 10 showdown against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
In other words, Sunday is a must-win trap game. Whether the Bengals can pull it off might decide the season.