Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
LAST WEEKS RECAP
The Bengals got off to a promising start last week against the Bears, winning 30-27. Thanks in part to a late game winning touchdown by Auden Tate.
On offense we saw a near perfect outing from the first team starters. They played three offensive drives, scoring on two of them with ease. The one where they did not score was due to an interception by Andy Dalton. However it shouldn’t raise any huge red flags since it was not really his fault. John Ross slipped on the route making it an easy pick by the defense. The first team offense gave fans plenty to be happy about, including the new offensive line. Dalton spread the ball around well and moved the ball down the field smoothly.
The first team defense also showed very well. They held Mitchell Trubisky to just four yards passing. One of the most promising displays was the Bengals pass rush. With a rotation of Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Carl Lawson, Michael Johnson, and Sam Hubbard, the Bengals will be hard to keep off the quarterback. The middle of the defense still needs some work with the linebacking core as they need to figure out how to deal with the absence of Vontaze Burfict. But was an overall very solid showing against the Bears offense.
5 THINGS TO WATCH AGAINST DALLAS
1) The most important thing I will be watching for this weekend will be the linebacker play. Dallas has a very good run game with both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Last week we saw the linebackers make a few mistakes against the run. If they can show improvement and hold Prescott and Elliot on the ground, it will be a very encouraging sign. The Bengals have to see better play from their linebackers without Vontaze Burfict on the field.
2) My eyes will again be on Tyler Boyd and John Ross as I continue to see if they can step up and add to this offense like people expect them too. I’m excited to see them more involved and hope they can get some confidence going against a weak Cowboys secondary.
3) The offensive line is something to watch for every week during preseason. The Bengals offensive line coach previously coached the offensive line for Dallas, so it will be interesting to see what his line can do against his former team. The line will have their hands full with Demarcus Lawrence and the rest of the Cowboys line. Both the starting right guard and right tackle spots are still up for grabs, so there should be some great battles to watch in the trenches.
4) Jeff Driskel has passed Matt Barkley on the depth chart and should be the second quarterback to see the field. Driskel should see a little tougher competition this week so be sure to keep an eye on how he handles the new competition.
5) The last thing to watch for is rookie safety Jesse Bates. Bates challenged George Iloka for playing time last week. Bates is still a rookie learning the game and did not have any highlight plays against the Bears but showed a lot of upside with his awareness and quickness. The Bengals are usually slow to give rookies playing time, so for Bates to see the field as early as he did is a very telling sign for the rookie.
Game: Bengals (1-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Date/Time: August 18, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. EST
Location: AT&T Stadium
Last Matchup: 10/09/16 – Dallas 28 Cincinnati 14
Odds: Bengals, +3 (Odds Shark)
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