Bengals Matchups to Watch – Mike Hilton vs Kalif Raymond
Even without Trae Waynes, who made his way to injured reserve this week, the Bengals secondary should lose little sleep over the Lions receiving options. In what was already an underpowered group, news of Quinton Cephus’ broken collarbone was a harsh blow to Detroit.
It’s unusual for a 5’8″, 182-pound receiver to be the main threat for an offense, but that is what Kalif Raymond effectively becomes. With Chidobe Awuzie being impressive for the Bengals so far this year, it’s fair to think the Lions may seek to move Raymond around the formation to get things going.
Nearly a third of Raymond’s snaps have come in the slot, which would face him off against Mike Hilton, who has become an immediate leader on the defense and a senior presence. However, the strength of his game has always been in the run game or as a pass-rushing weapon.
That shows up in his PFF grades for this season. His run defense grade is 71.2, while he has logged a score of 81.9 on his 10 blitzes. Unfortunately, his 58.5 coverage grade is below par. In particular, Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars targeted him seven times, achieving 10.2 yards per target a couple of weeks ago.
Both Raymond and tight end T.J. Hockenson will be heavily called upon, and if Goff and the offense can match them up against Hilton, they could find some joy. However, the lack of options for the Lions should mean the Bengals can identify and neutralize the main threats using their best cover guys.
These are the matchups I’ll be watching. What about you, Bengals fans?