The Bengals face the Colts in Week 1, and there are a few storylines that dominate the game. Watch for Andrew Luck versus the front 4 in particular.
The Bengals’ regular season is about to get underway against the Colts this Sunday, but it’s never too early to start getting excited about Week 1. There’s a certain element of familiarity as these two teams square off since they just played last week to wrap up the preseason. Although there is no official record of how often this has happened, it hasn’t happened in the 21st century. With that nugget in mind, here’s 3 major storylines to look forward to in this matchup.
Avenging their playoff loss
In the Bengals’ run of five straight playoff appearances, they were eliminated by the Colts in 2015. Infamously, the Bengals struggled on offense as AJ Green missed the game due to injury. That was the last time the two squared off in Indy, so traveling to Lucas Oil Stadium should bring back those bad memories.
Hopefully, the team can use that loss as fuel to get their 2018 season off to a hot start. Obviously, the expectation is that the Bengals can win a playoff game this year, so defeating Indianapolis would not only get the season started the right way, but also avenge one of those playoff losses.
Andrew Luck returns
Luck missed the entire 2017 season with a mysterious shoulder injury but seems ready to go for the start of this season. There are plenty of questions surrounding Luck as he makes his return to the gridiron, primarily about whether he has the same arm strength as before. Whether Luck is 100% or not, he will still be a threat to the Bengals’ defense. The Bengals need a strong performance on defense to overcome a Luck with something to prove.
Sacks for everyone
Speaking of dominant defense, the Bengals’ pass rush will have a great opportunity to assert itself this week. The Colts’ offensive line is in shambles heading into this season and could get worse if LT Anthony Costanzo doesn’t play. This will allow the Bengals to tee off against Luck. Look for all the pass rushers to get involved, from Carlos Dunlap and Carl Lawson to Jordan Willis and Sam Hubbard.