The Cincinnati Bengals may have an advantage in the trenches.
Trey Hopkins vs. Khyiris Tonga, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman
Bears starting defensive tackle Eddie Goldman is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game. If he misses this one, that would mean Khyiris Tonga would get first snaps at nose tackle. That should play in the Bengals’ favor.
There is quite a drop-off from Goldman to Tonga, but that is to be expected given Tonga is a rookie seventh-round pick. Their games are different as well. Tonga is more of a space-eater whereas, Goldman offers more pass rush up the middle.
Akiem Hicks is another name to keep in mind at nose tackle. He’s tallied 37.5 sacks in his career. Usually, he is the starter at defensive tackle, so he wouldn’t normally match up versus Hopkins in a 3-4 defense. Still, the Bears might feel that they have an advantage over Hopkins. If so, Hicks is a good candidate to try to provide a pass rush up the middle.
In turn, Trey Hopkins needs to be able to hold up one-on-one against whoever the nose tackle is. The guards and tackles are going to have their hands full this week.
Hopkins had the worst game of any Bengals offensive lineman against the Vikings.
He has a chance jot get back on track this week. Hopefully, he gets back to being the most dependable lineman on the team like he was last year.