Going into week 11, I wanted to get some insight into the Bills’ future opponent from someone who knows them best – one of their bloggers / fans. In this case, I couldn’t have been happier to get Joe Goodberry – Bengals analyst and Bleacher Report scout for #NFL1000 to take the time to do so. Joe has been one of the best follows I have on Twitter – not just for Bengals analysis, but general state of the league thoughts and commentary as well. I encourage you to follow him @JoeGoodberry for said info, as well as a great artist and fan of comics. Without any further ado, our chat:
1. Looking at the Bengals – coming off of 12-4 and having been one of the ideal franchises for team-building, what’s happened? Is it Jackson’s departure?
— Whenever a complete collapse takes place, there are many directions to assign blame. This is true with the 2016 Bengals. Not only did they lose Hue Jackson on offense, but they have missed Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and Andre Smith. They haven’t been able to replace any of them and each departure has taken a toll on the offense.
On defense, this has been a slower death. After losing Mike Zimmer, the Bengals were able to hold onto many of his philosophies, but as players needed to be replaced and bad draft picks were made, the defense hasn’t been able to replenish talent and hasn’t evolved what they do schematically. They’re a slow, untalented, disadvantaged unit right now.
2. Eifert seemed to find his groove a bit vs the Giants. With his health near 100%, should Bills fans be more afraid of him and his TE brethren or the incandescent AJ Green?
— Neither guy can truly be covered. Maybe for a play here or there, but over the course of the game, those guys will win more than they lose. AJ Green might be more dangerous because of the long ball and how poorly the Bills CBs have played it this season. I also like the Bills linebackers (Brown and Brown) in coverage, but Eifert should be able to pick on Buffalo’s safeties. If the Bengals have anything on offense this season, it’s because one of these two weapons created it for them.
3. How much do you think Rex and Marvin’s relationship will be able to help their quarterback prepping for Sunday?
— These two coaches know each other, but I’m not sure who that has helped over the years. Especially at QB, the Bengals got sliced up by Mark Sanchez at one point and Andy Dalton had one of his best career days against the Jets in 2013. I think Rex and Marvin’s defenses, styles and tendencies are known to everyone in the NFL. They’ve been the same guys running their same defenses for years.
4. Who are two players Bills fans might not be acquainted with that you think will help decide the game?
— Bills fans may not know the Bengals starting right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, but he’s probably the worst starting OT in the NFL right now. When he’s matched up against Jerry Hughes, it should be a clear advantage for Buffalo.
On the positive side for Cincinnati, nickel corner/safety Josh Shaw has been playing pretty well in his second season and should have a fun matchup with Robert Woods in the slot. Look for that to go back and forth on Sunday.
5. Any final thoughts on the game itself and how you think it’ll play out?
— I could see this game turning into a shootout. I like the advantages AJ Green and Tyler Eifert present against the Bengals defense, but Tyrod and McCoy will probably make the Bengals linebackers look silly as they try to cover ground and tackle in the open field. I could see this game getting out of hand and the loser will almost officially end their 2016 season.