The Cincinnati Bengals have a matchup this Sunday against the Detroit Lions, who have been one of the poorer defenses in the league, ranking 23rd in point allowed so far through five weeks with 138 points given up—making wide receiver Tee Higgins this week’s breakout candidate.
The Lions lost Jeffery Okudah early in the season, which hurt the secondary, considering he was their best cornerback. He was one of the critical centerpieces of the defense. Without him, the expectation isn’t all that high. Dan Campbell does have this team playing hard football, though, and they will give you everything they got, but the talent just hasn’t been there to get wins.
With Ja’Marr Chase more than likely drawing most of the focus around the outside, it should give Tee Higgins a very favorable matchup. Boyd will take up the slot, and they still have to worry about Joe Mixon, so the Lions’ defense will have their hands full with players to key in on. Higgins needed to get his feet under him a little bit last week after missing two consecutive weeks before that, and I believe he did just that.
Expect a big performance from Tee Higgins in Week 6.
PFF also gave the Bengals receivers the easiest ranked matchup this week. Now take that for what it’s worth.
The Lions are no pushover 0-5 team. They were a 67 yarder field goal that bounced in off the bottom post to having a win over the Ravens, and they were another game-winning field goal away from having a win over the Vikings last week.
They’ve battled through many adversities, making this game one that the Bengals cannot take lightly. And they shouldn’t. The Jaguars opened up Cincinnati’s eyes a few weeks ago on Thursday night, giving them a little bit of a reality check that this is still the NFL, and any team can genuinely win on any given day against any opponent.
The Bengals will be ready for this one. Zac Taylor has stressed all week that the Lions do not look or play like an 0-5 team.
Although Detroit has allowed 100+ rushing yards to all their opponents this season except Green Bay (who still went over 90 yards on the ground), I want to pick Joe Mixon here, and he could have a big game. However, with missing practice and the constant questionable tag, it gives me a feeling he still may have somewhat limited snaps like last week.
But the Lions will still have to focus on stopping the run, which will be another reason Higgins could find himself with plenty of looks his way out of the play action and shotgun if the Lions bring a blitz. Single coverage may not be the best option for the Lions here.
I’d expect to see a lot of zone throughout the game. Jerry Jacobs could be the one with the duty of lining up across from Higgins in this game, and that’s a matchup Higgins shouldn’t have a problem exploiting if he gets a good jump. With his height, size, and length.
Tee Higgins stat prediction:
- 8 receptions
- 114 yards
- 2 touchdowns