The Cincinnati Bengals will look to get back to winning ways in Week 2 when they go up against the Dallas Cowboys, but these Cowboys players will put up a good fight.
Cincy got humbled in the season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Week 2 against Dallas poses as an opportunity for the team to regain some of its pride. Joe Burrow should bounce back after his egregious four-pick performance, Ja'Marr Chase will continue doing Ja'Marr Chase things, and the Bengals have one more huge advantage heading into this matchup: No Dak.
With Dak Prescott out for at least the next six weeks, the entire Cowboys offense looks much, much less dangerous. Typically productive weapons like CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz will have a more difficult time getting on the scoresheet, and if the Cowboys somehow do manage to win this game, it'll be largely due to their defense.
Here are three Cowboys who can turn the tables against the Bengals in Week 2.
3. DeMarcus Lawrence
Cowboys defensve end DeMarcus Lawrence is healthy again in 2022, and the Cincinnati Bengals should be very scared.
The former second-round pick enters his ninth season in Dallas and serves as one of many prongs in the team's lethal pass-rush.
Though Lawrence is well past his prime Pro-Bowl form and likely won't be recording double-digit sack numbers this season, his experience and savvy talent on the edge warrants his spot on this list.
As any pass-rusher knows, sacks are only one measurable -- Lawrence remains elite as ever in getting crucial stops at the line of scrimmage, and the Bengals' O-line won't know what hit them.
Jonah Williams, Cordell Volson, and the rest of the offensive line better bring their A game on Sunday. Otherwise, things could get ugly.
2. Trevon Diggs
Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase vs. Cowboy's Trevon Diggs. Could you ask for a better Week 2 matchup??
Star cornerback Trevon Diggs ranked Chase as one of his top five wideouts in the league earlier this summer and will no doubt stick to Chase all game. The last time these two faced each other, Chase admittedly smoked Diggs for 140 yards and a touchdown in the 2019 LSU-Alabama game.
Diggs has a score to settle with Chase this time around, and everyone knows the NFL is different beast from college football.
Coming off a Pro Bowl and All-Pro nod in 2021, Diggs is arguably entering his most productive years and stands out as the undisputed leader of Dallas' secondary.
He nabbed a league-high 11 interceptions last season, and given how careless Burrow has been with the ball in Week 1, Diggs will be seeking every opportunity to steal the ball away.
Ja'Marr Chase has the talent to potentially beat Diggs on one-on-one open-field matchups, yet if Diggs is in elite form, he can keep Chase in his pocket all game.
1. Micah Parsons
The 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year posted two sacks and two quarterback hits on G.O.A.T. Tom Brady in Week 1, and he'll be giving Joe Burrow the same star treatment in Week 2.
In one word, Parsons is relentless. And one of the scariest pass-rushers in 2022.
He already ranks up there with Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt and poses as an explosive defender off the edge with an impressive array of pass-rushing moves, totaling a whopping 13 sacks as a rookie.
If you were worried about the state of the Bengals' offensive line in Week 1, that same O-line is no match against a disruptive force like Parsons. Everyone on the line needs to step up to give Burrow any chance of staying upright and keeping the Bengals' passing attack alive.
We're not trying to be glass-half-empty people here, but there's a high chance Parsons notches at least one sack on Burrow and there's a 100 percent chance he terrorizes Cincy all game.
Facing Parsons in Week 2 feels very much like facing a natural disaster -- you can't stop him, but you can limit the damage.