When the Bengals Run the Ball:
The Bengals may only be ranked 16th in the running game, but they are coming off back-to-back 160+ yard games (162-NE; 165-Buff). While neither of those defenses is stout against the run (26th and 28th), the Lions are worse (29th). Suh and Fairley have the big names, but they like to get after the quarterback and are surprisingly bad when it comes to stopping the run. Look for the Bengals to take advantage of this and establish the run early and often. The Bengals can run on this Lions team, and I think they know it. Bold prediction: The Bengals will get their first 100 yard rusher on Sunday.
Jan 1, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
When the Bengals Throw the Ball:
Detroit isn’t much better against the pass (21st), and for a defensive line that likes to rush the QB and a team that only likes to bring 4 rushers, they aren’t very good at getting to the QB – 12 sacks (26th). However, with only bringing 4 rushers, they drop 7 guys into coverage and they do have 10 picks. For the 3rd week in a row, the Bengals will face a player tied for the NFL lead in interceptions, LB DeAndre Levy (4). Individually, the Bengals WRs and TEs should be able to exploit their match-ups, and if the Bengals can hurt the Lions early with the run game, they should have more openings in the passing game.