Bengals vs Lions: 4 key matchups to watch in Week 6

Rory-Joe Daniels
Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 4
Cincinnati Bengals
D’Ante Smith, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals travel to Ford Field this weekend to take on the winless Detroit Lions. We take a look at the key matchups that will likely decide the outcome.

The Bengals enter the clash as slight favorites over the Lions, so it’s reasonable to expect another close one. Having come up agonizingly short against Minnesota last week, Detroit’s Head Coach Dan Campbell will be desperate to break his NFL duck.

With injuries taking hold as the season ticks on, it should leave some interesting mismatches that both teams will seek to gain an advantage through. Let’s take a look at some of the matchups to watch for this Week 6 showdown in the Motor City.

First up, the Bengals need to shuffle the deck on the offensive line giving one rookie his first start in the regular season.

Bengals Matchups to Watch – D’Ante Smith vs Michael Brockers

EDITOR’S NOTE – D’Ante Smith is OUT for this game

In all likelihood, the Bengals will have to start rookie D’Ante Smith at right guard vs the Lions in Week 6. This week, Jackson Carman, the incumbent, went to the Covid-19 list, giving Smith a shot at the starting gig.

The East Carolina product was impressive and ahead of Carman in terms of development during the preseason. Despite not having experience on the interior of the offensive line, he made use of his impressive 6’5″ frame at guard.

While Carman has shown signs of growth, it has not been plain sailing. At times against the Packers, it was Carman’s assignment that led to plays falling flat. The Bengals’ offense will hope for a relatively mistake-free showing from Smith, but he may view the opportunity differently. With the offensive line still a contentious issue, nobody’s place is safe, and Smith has an outside chance to win a job.

The Lions’ defensive line has had a solid start to the season. According to Pro Football Reference, they have logged 11 sacks through five weeks and a QB pressure percentage of 29.3, which ranks fourth in the league so it’s fair to expect Joe Burrow to be on the back foot at times.

It will likely be a familiar face to Zac Taylor, who will be going up against Smith. Michael Brockers may be approaching the age of 31, but he will be relishing going toe-to-toe with a fresh-faced rookie. The long-time St. Louis/LA Rams defensive tackle may have lost some of his juice but will look to get into the face of Joe Burrow early on.

Keeping the pocket clean will be vital to giving the quarterback time to dissect an undermanned Lions secondary. The saying that the ‘game is won in the trenches’ may be particularly relevant this weekend.