3 Bengals who must be exceptional vs Browns in Week 9
By Riley Thomas
Jessie Bates needs to return to elite play
Bengals fans probably do not want to hear this, but Jessie Bates has not been the same this year. Bates—who is still a good starting safety—is not producing like one of the best in the league right now.
The standard for Bates is held extremely high after his All-Pro-worthy season last year but he is not living up to those high expectations right now. This would be a great game to have the elite Bates back in action.
The Browns have one of the better rushing attacks in the NFL with Nick Chubb leading the way. The linebackers for the Bengals can make some plays, but what happens when Chubb gets past them, because it will happen.
The secondary, primarily the safety positions, will be huge in run support on Sunday. Bates turning in a masterful game in run support could be a difference-maker that limits Chubb. Seeing Bates fly around the field taking over the game would be a welcomed sight.
While Bates has not flashed like last season, he has still been solid providing support against the run. The area where he hasn’t shown up as much is against the pass, proven by his 113.2 passer rating allowed. Well, this is a great week matchup-wise for Bates since the Browns heavily rely on the run and rarely take shots down the field with the underwhelming play of Baker Mayfield.
We have not seen the dominant 2020 Bates yet, this Sunday against the Browns will be a massive chance for Bates to earn a big contract.
Cincy needs to come out of the Week 9 game victorious for both playoff and AFC North standings. The in-state battle of the Bengals vs. Browns is always a big one, but this is one of the largest matchups in years with both teams having playoff aspirations. Later in the season, this game could have huge ramifications for playoff seeding, so both teams need this game.
The combination of big games from the offensive tackles, Higgins, and Bates could give the Bengals just the boost they need to grab another impressive win.