By David McDonnell
Sorry it’s only a short preview this week.
Bengals v Titans
The most interesting match-up for me is the Bengals visiting the Titans and these are two teams that have been in great form over the last few weeks.
Tennessee were very impressive on Thursday Night Football in Week 11 against a resurgent looking Packers in Lambeau Field, where again they leaned on Derek Henry and the threat of Derek Henry to do the damage.
I am not the biggest fan of Ryan Tannehill but very like Kirk Cousins he is a play-action specialist and he can throw down the field accurately when he gets time and space in the pocket. Having first-round pick Treylon Burks back after injury will help in this regard and the rookie wide-out had over 100 yards receiving last time out.
The best way to stop play action is to stop the run but that is easier said than done when you have to come up against a behemoth that is Henry. With his power, speed and acceleration, and also a hand-off akin to being hit by a baseball bat, he is an unstoppable force and as long as he stays healthy then the Titans can beat any team on their day.
They come up against a Cincinnati defence who are clever and well-coached with excellent players across their line-up. Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson are the standouts on the line but Logan Wilson as the ‘will’ linebacker has impressed me all season.
It will be interesting to see how the Bengals defensive plays against Tannehill and the Titans. Will they pack the box to stop Henry as we have seen many teams do and leave themselves vulnerable to play action from Tannehill? Or will they mix it up and try something different? If it was me, I would try and make Tannehill beat me from the pocket even if he is coming off an excellent display against Green Bay.
The Bengals offence has been on fire all season led by Joe Burrow at quarterback.
They die and ride with his performances and decision making and they haven’t skipped a beat since their superstar receiver Ja’Marr Chase was out over the last few weeks with a rib injury.
Instead Burrow has learned more from Tee Higgens, who is coming off his best performance of the season with 148 receiving yards with an average of over 16 yards per catch against the Steelers defence. In the last two games, their running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine have also combined for eight touchdowns.
With Chase listed as questionable for this game, he could be back on the field sooner than expected and the Bengals will need him as they are facing a tough schedule of games with the Chiefs, Browns, Bucs, Pats, Bills and Ravens rounding out their schedule after this game against Tennessee.
The Titans have won seven of their last eight games and have the league’s top run defence according to the metrics. The Titans have a particularly aggressive defence that takes their lead from their head coach Mike Vrabel and the best way to stop this high-powered Bengals offence is to get to Joe Burrow.
The Titans are averaging two and a half sacks a game and will need to improve this in my opinion to stop Joey Cool, or whatever they are calling him these days.
I’m going for a road Bengals win.
Packers v Eagles
Another interesting game in Week 12 is the Packers visiting the Eagles in the late kickoff on Sunday night.
We all know Aaron Rodgers loves it when the lights shine brightest and I think the Packers are a team trending in the right direction with two good performances in a row.
They will find it tough against an excellent set of defensive backs in Philly and it will be interesting if rookie receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs can get much change out of a pair of elite corner-backs in Darius Slay and James Bradberry.
Still I think this game will be won in the trenches and coming off a loss, I expect the Eagles to go back to basics and let their O-line lead them to another victory. For this reason I suspect the Eagles will be the team singing Christmas songs in the locker room afterwards.
It is still November right?