4 key matchups between Bengals and Falcons to watch for

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Post14 lis 2018 03:21

Last week Nick Vigil Jersey , we saw the two best quarterbacks from the 2011 NFL Draft face off against one another in Andy Dalton and Cam Newton. This week, we get to see the two best receivers from that class play on opposite sides in A.J. Green and Julio Jones. In terms of actual matchups, there’s a plethora to focus in one between the Bengals and Falcons. Here are some of the best.RB Giovani Bernard vs. LB De’Vondre CampbellThings haven’t been easy for the Falcons linebacking corps since standout MIKE linebacker Deion Jones went down in Week 1 against the Eagles. They’ve faced running backs Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers and then Alvin Kamara of the Saints in Jones’ absence and allowed a combined 29 catches for 226 yards and 11 first downs. Admittedly, Bernard isn’t quite at either McCaffery or Kamara’s level as a receiver, and that’s not an indictment on Bernard at all. Regardless, the Falcons have relied mostly on Campbell to matchup with McCaffery and Kamara out of the backfield and he’s been serviceable at best in the role. Bernard is still going to be the lead back with Joe Mixon unlikely to play for the second straight week, and the Bengals offense can take advantage.WR Tyler Boyd vs. DB Brian PooleThe Bengals brightest young star at the moment is Boyd, who has put up 24 more receiving yards and the same number of touchdowns in three games as he did all last year. On the other hand, the biggest question mark on the Falcons defense is where Poole will play on Sunday. An admirable talent defending the slot, Poole may end up taking snaps at safety with how banged up the Falcons are at that position.Outside of Poole, the options behind him are pretty slim, so perhaps Poole will stick where he’s best at when the Falcons are in nickel. When these two face off, it should be a back and forth battle. Bill Lazor has done a great job of getting Boyd in opportune situations over the middle and on corner routes. He has fellow receiver John Ross to thank as well for clearing out space for a good chunk of his yards as well. Poole is an even match for him in the slot and it should get a lot of attention with Boyd being Andy Dalton’s second favorite target thus far.NT Andrew Billings vs. C Alex MackThe Bengals had a scare when their starting nose tackle left last week’s game temporarily. Fortunately, Billings returned to the game and they were only down one defensive tackle in Ryan Glasgow, who will now miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL. Even when Billings was in the game, the Bengals got gashed up the middle in run defense facing a good center in Ryan Kalil.This week, Billings is going up against another brawler in the run game in Mack, whom the Bengals are somewhat familiar with when Mack played in Cleveland a little while back. There should be an obvious emphasis on improving the run defense after the Panthers ran for over two football fields against them last week. The Bengals linebackers have an obvious role in that, but the defensive line has to make more impact plays on the line of scrimmage as well. Billings quickly getting off blocks from Mack is going to be a crucial part in that. CB William Jackson vs. WR Julio JonesPerhaps the marquee matchup of the game Authentic Clint Boling Jersey , one of the game’s best pass-catchers in Jones will likely be face to face with one of the best upcoming corners in Jackson sporadically throughout the game. Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has continually struggled to get Jones the ball in the end zone. But at the very least, he’s deployed him on the line of scrimmage (split-end) in the slot and at flanker (off the line of scrimmage) on both the right and left side of the formation all pretty equally. He’s been targeted more when he has ran routes from the left side of the offense, which is where Jackson always is defending whether it’s zone or man coverage. When he’s been in pure man-to-man coverage, Jackson hasn’t been picked on that much through three games, especially compared to his counterpart Dre Kirkpatrick. But the Falcons, despite having a plethora of weapons, run through Jones as their No. 1 receiver and he still dominates in target share in the offense. Jackson should have plenty of work in front of him.Bengals DB Clayton Fejedelem among top NFL safeties and more from PFF Coming into Week 1, Clayton Fejedelem was one of the last guys you’d have expected to steal the spotlight. After all, Bengals vs. Colts was a game that featured a bevy of former Pro Bowlers and rising stars, including A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton, Geno Atkins and Andrew Luck.But from this game, the name that will be remembered is Fej.The third-year safety made the play of the game with the Colts in position to win with under a minute left, trailing by four and in Bengals territory. At that point, Luck had matched Indy right down the field and looked primed for a game-winning touchdown.That’s when Fejedelem saved the day with a forced fumble on Jack Doyle, then picked up the loose ball and ran it all the way to a 1-0 record for the good guys:But this never would have happened if not for one of the most bone-headed plays of Week 1 you’ll see.It came early in the first quarter when starting safety Shawn Williams had an egregious hit on Andrew Luck that (rightfully) led to an ejection. To Williams’ credit, he was the first person to greet his victorious teammates as they came to the postgame locker room. Still, Williams’ gaffe may have allowed Fejedelem to at least be in the conversation to start over him going forward. It’s more likely that they’ll share snaps more, but after one week Youth Vontaze Burfict Jersey , Fejedelem is now one of the NFL’s top defensive backs at Pro Football Focus.Through Week 1, Fejedelem has earned a 91.1 PFF grade, good for the third-best safety, fourth-best defensive back, and eighth-best defensive player in the league. That’s how good Fejedelem was in Week 1 while playing most of the game after Williams was ejected in the first quarter. It’s been quite a rise for Fejedelem, who the Bengals selected out of Illinois with the 245th overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft. Making his rise even more amazing was before he attended Illinois, Fejedelem played for NAIA school St. Xavier State.It’s very rare to see an NAIA player make it to the NFL, let alone be a star for even one game the way Fejedelem was. He’s truly one of the best stories about the 2018 Bengals. But Fejedelem wasn’t the only 2016 draft pick to shine Sunday. Outside linebacker and former third-round pick Nick Vigil recorded seven defensive stops (4 run; 3 pass) against the Colts on Sunday, five more than any other Cincinnati defender. He also led the team with 12 tackles. That earned him an 85.2 PFF grade, good for 11th-best among linebackers entering Week 2. Bengals rookie safety Jessie Bates played all 82 defensive snaps and earned a 79.1 overall grade in his regular-season debut, which has him ranked ninth among all NFL safeties after Week 1. Only Seattle and Cincinnati have two safeties ranked inside the top 10. As good as the Bengals’ defensive backs were, the right side of the offensive line was the complete opposite. Right guard Alex Redmond earned a 56.5 overall grade across 56 offensive snaps in Indy, allowing five total pressures in the process. Redmond and Bobby Hart (37.4 overall grade) earned the two lowest grades of any Bengals offensive player and allowed 10 total pressures combined.When rushing to the left and right of Redmond, Bengals running backs totaled eight yards on five carries (1.6 YPC). Rushing everywhere else, Cincy running backs totaled 85 yards on 13 carries (6.54 YPC).鈥婽hat’s not going to cut it, and the Bengals probably should cut Hart, who is PFF’s second-worst offensive lineman after Week 1. Only Chargers guard Dan Feeney earned a lower grade.
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