The Cincinnati Bengals head home this weekend to take on the San Francisco 49ers. We’ll do a roster analysis position by position comparing the starters of each team to see who holds the edge at each spot, starting with the offenses.
Quarterback: Andy Dalton vs. Jimmy Garoppolo
Winner: Andy Dalton
We’ve seen very little from Jimmy Garoppolo thus far and that makes this decision easy. Dalton is far more experienced, and in his first game with Zac Taylor at the helm he showed a lot. He leads the league in passing yards and has weapons around him to help out.
Garoppolo is still largely an unknown with huge upside. He has Kyle Shanahan, the architect of the Falcons tremendous 2017 offensive season at head coach which should make things easier for him. Right now though, Dalton firmly holds the edge.
Running back: Joe Mixon vs. Matt Breida
Winner: Joe Mixon
Obviously, this depends on whether Mixon is able to play Sunday. If he is, he clearly holds the edge. Mixon is a top five talent in the league at running back with his great patience, speed, power, and balance. There isn’t much more you could ask for out of a back. He had a quiet Week 1 due to the Seahawks game plan and poor run blocking, but expect him to have a much bigger stat line in Week 2 if he’s healthy.
Breida will carry the load for the 49ers with Tevin Coleman out. He is one of the fastest backs in the league. The Bengals will have their hands full trying to make sure the home run hitter doesn’t break loose.
Wide-Receiver Trios: John Ross/Tyler Boyd/Damion Willis vs. Dante Pettis/Marquise Goodwin/Kendrick Bourne
This wouldn’t even be a question if A.J. Green were healthy. Still, the Bengals have a former 1,000 yard receiver in Boyd. They also have Ross, the fastest man in the NFL, who took the first step towards a much needed breakout season in the opener.
The 49ers have some good speed, especially in Goodwin, but right now they don’t match up against the Bengals receiving core, even with Cincy’s best player out.
Left Tackle: Cordy Glenn vs. Joe Staley
Winner: Joe Staley
Staley wins this one easily. Glenn used to be a solid tackle, but after some injuries, he hasn’t been the same player for the Bengals as he was for the Bills. Meanwhile, Staley has been one of the most consistent and best left tackles during his long career.
Left Guard: Michael Jordan vs. Laken Tomlinson
Winner: Laken Tomlinson
Jordan’s youth and inexperience lose him the this battle. Tomlinson was a first round pick back in 2015 and hasn’t really lived up to that billing. Still, he has a lot more experience than Jordan who had some struggles run blocking in his NFL debut. In the long run, I think Jordan will be a much better player. For now, Tomlinson wins out.
Center: Trey Hopkins vs. Weston Richburg
Winner: Weston Richburg
Trey Hopkins had an outstanding game against Seattle. He gets overlooked because people hear he was an undrafted free agent or that he played poorly at guard in the past and think he is a liability. That couldn’t be further from the truth. He is a legitimate starting center and may be the Bengals best offensive lineman.
On the other hand, Richburg had an abysmal first game. However, he has been a great center in the past. I believe the 49ers may have rushed him back from injury too quickly. If he is fully healthy and can knock off the rust, he wins this matchup. However, don’t be surprised if Hopkins ends up looking like the better of the two.
Right Guard: John Miller vs. Mike Person
Winner: Mike Person
Person has been in the league since 2011 and carved out a solid career along the way. Miller was brought in as a free agent to help the team run block. He didn’t get the job done against the Seahawks though. The running game sputtered. Person wins this one decisively.
Right Tackle: Bobby Hart vs. Mike Mcglinchey
Winner: Mike Mcglinchey
Mcglinchey wins hands down. Bobby Hart has been a liability for the Bengals since he joined the team and this season appears to be no different. He is still young and the coaching staff seems to believe they can turn him into a capable starter. At least he seemed to overcome his penalty issues from 2018 last week.
Mcglinchey was a plug and play pick for the 49ers in the same draft the Bengals traded for Cordy Glenn. If the team believed Mcglinchey would’ve been there when they were selecting, they would have stayed put and ran to the podium with his name on the draft card. It wasn’t meant to be. San Francisco scooped him up two picks before the Bengals original draft slot.
Tight-end: C.J. Uzomah vs. George Kittle
Winner: George Kittle
Kittle is the premiere receiving option for this 49ers offense. He broke the single season receiving yardage record for tight ends last year and is one of the fastest at the position. C.J. Uzomah is a solid player for the Bengals. The same can be said of the current version Tyler Eifert, but Cincinnati loses this one.
Be sure to check back tomorrow as we shift to the defensive side of the ball!