Cincinnati Bengals matchups to watch
Trey Hendrickson vs. Ronnie Stanley
Even with the report that the club has extended Sam Hubbard’s contract, the big money addition remains Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson signed earlier this offseason to a four-year, 60 million dollar deal. He got that deal in large part because of his great 2020 campaign when he logged 13.5 sacks and added 25 hits on the quarterback.
In a league where getting to the opposing team’s quarterback is paramount, the Bengals are counting big on similar production from the defensive end this year. Perhaps his biggest roadblock this season could come in the form of Ravens tackle, Ronnie Stanley.
Pro Football Focus ranks Stanley as the fifth-best tackle in all of football heading into the 2021 season. Of him, they write:
"Stanley was his usual self prior to going down with a season-ending injury in Week 8 of 2020, virtually never losing in pass protection. He earned a 91.0 pass-blocking grade over his six outings, which at the time was the best in the NFL. In 2019, Stanley led all tackles in pass-blocking grade by over four grading points with a 93.3 mark."
If Hendrickson can win a few of his individual battles against Stanley, there is no reason to think that he should not be able to do at least the same against lesser foes. That would be a big boost to a pass rush defense that finished dead last in sacks last year.
Sometimes, games come down to which team has the better players and who can win their one-on-one matchups. If the above matchups can turn in the Bengals’ favor, that could go a long way in determining which team comes out on top in these divisional contests.