The Sky Is The Limit For The Cincinnati Bengals’ Defense
Throughout the first five weeks of the season, many would probably say they are most impressed with how the Cincinnati Bengals offense has played thus far. And there’s no reason not to. Averaging 29.4 points per game, the Bengals offense is ranked second overall in the NFL, behind only the New England Patriots. Andy Dalton has passed for the second most pass yards in the NFL with 1,518 yards while Giovani Bernard has surprisingly led the Bengals backfield with 377 total rush yards. Yes, the Bengals offense has been a spectacle to watch, but the sky is the limit for the defense.
The Bengals defense has struggled at times, allowing 371.2 yards per game (23rd in the NFL), but they have played a stout defense when it really matters. We have already seen a well improved defensive front has recorded 13.5 sacks. Along with Detroit Lions‘ Ezekiel Ansah, Carlos Dunlap leads the NFL with five sacks while Geno Atkins has looked strong by recording four sacks. The defensive linemen of the Bengals have been able to pressure quarterbacks by staying fresh due to an eight man rotation.
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The linebacking corps of the Bengals have also played up to expectations. Vincent Rey has exceeded those expectations by stepping up nicely in the absence of Vontaze Burfict and currently standing third in the NFL with 49 total tackles. Rey Maualuga continues to be the heart of the Bengals defense and has created opportunities for others to make big plays. Although they have allowed big run plays, including the 69-yard touchdown run against the Seahawks, the presence of A.J. Hawk has gradually improved the defensive run game.
When the Bengals travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills on Sunday, their defense will be taking on a shaky offense that has been devastated by injury. The Bills will be without running back LeSean McCoy and possibly wide receiver Sammy Watkins. To top it all off, the Bills confirmed that quarterback Tyrod Taylor has a sprained MCL and that E.J. Manuel will get the majority of reps in practice this week.
In his 14 NFL starts, Manuel as thrown 12 interceptions. This fares well for a Bengals secondary that has only recorded four interceptions thus far. The Bengals defense has an opportunity to make big plays in a statement game on Sunday and inflate those stats as well as their overall ranking. The Bills have improved their defense in 2015 thanks to first year head coach Rex Ryan, but Dalton and the high-flying Bengals offense should be able to get the job done and enter their bye week at a comfortable 6-0.
Dan Miller is an NFL writer for Stripehype.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealDANimal45, or add him to your network on Google.