Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
In what can almost be considered a home game for the Bengals, they travel to Indianapolis on Sunday to take on the Colts in Andrew Luck’s return to football. Both teams will be looking to bounce back from poor 2017 seasons.
For the Colts it will be Andrew Luck showing he is still capable of playing football and that he can do it at a high level. The Colts defense looks like it may be one of the worst in the league, so they will need everything they can get from Luck. For the Bengals it will be all eyes on Andy Dalton. Loaded with talent around him it depends on what Dalton can do against a poor Indy defense to prove he is still a guy capable of winning a championship with.
Matchups to watch for…
Geno Atkins vs. Quenton Nelson – Nelson was the highest picked offensive lineman in the 2018 NFL Draft, and it was no surprise to see the Colts take him. The Colts have one of the worst lines in the league and need everything they can to help protect Andrew Luck. Nelson gets no time to adjust to the NFL as his first career start will be against all-pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Geno is one of the best interior lineman in the league, Bengals fans are hoping he can use his experience to make easy work of the rookie.
A.J. Green vs. Quincy Wilson – In what could be the biggest mismatch of the game, A.J. Green will go up against Colts corner Quincy Nelson. Nelson was a second round pick in the 2017 draft and did not see a lot of playing time last year, this year he starts out guarding an all-pro in A.J. Green. Green should be able to take advantage of this matchup, which should also open up John Ross to one-on-one coverage on the opposite side. The Bengals should be able to capitalize on this Colts secondary.
William Jackson III vs. T.Y. Hilton – Green and Wilson will not be the only WR/CB matchup to watch. On the flip side we will see what could be one of the toughest matchups for both players on the day. T.Y. Hilton is one of the best deep threat receivers in the league, who struggled last year with no Luck. William Jackson is one of the league’s elite up and coming young corners. Jackson held Antonio Brown (ever heard of him?) without a reception last year. William Jackson will look to continue his success from last year against Indy.
Other things to watch for…
The Bengals entire defensive line – The Bengals should have a strong outing this week against a bad Colts line. There is also rumor that Colts starter Anthony Castonzo is questionable for this game. Expect the Bengals ferocious d-line to carry their preseason momentum into Lucas Oil.
Bengals offensive weapons not named AJ Green – As mentioned before, the Colts have one of the league’s worst secondaries on paper. Outside of Malik Hooker, who is returning from injury, the Bengals have several favorable matchups. With Green lined up drawing Hooker’s attention, Ross, Boyd, and Eifert should feast with one-on-one coverage opportunities.
My Prediction: It should be an exciting games for Bengal fans to see what Lazor’s offense can do after a full offseason. A weak Colts defense should be the perfect game to display his creativity with his weapons all healthy. I am very optimistic about this Bengals team in 2018 and I think they go in and win in convincing fashion to open the year. With a fierce pass rush, and a deadly air attack, the Bengals win this one 35-17.
Be sure to follow me on twitter @Pierson242FF, and if you are at the game, be sure to tweet at me as I will also be in attendance on Sunday. Who Dey!
Game: Bengals (0-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
Date/Time: September 9, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
Uniforms: Color Rush
Last Matchup: 10/29/17 – Bengals 24, Colts 23
Odds: Bengals, +3