Despite not coming out with the victory, there were still glimmers of hope.
Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow showed that he could perform on a national stage, putting up a valiant effort to keep his team in the game. This definitely left Bengals fans with plenty of optimism for the organization moving forward.
With an extra three days of rest, Cincinnati aims for their first win of the season in Week 3, where they face off against a Philadelphia Eagles team that also suffered a Week 2 defeat. Both squads are now 0-2 on the season and looking for their first placement in the “win” column. The Bengals hold a 73% all-time winning percentage over the Eagles, which is the team’s second-highest versus any other.
The offense took a big blow in the loss to Cleveland, as starting tight end C.J. Uzomah would rupture his Achilles, an injury that will leave him out for the remainder of the season.
Cincinnati has come out victorious in three of their previous four matchups.
Kickoff: Sunday, September 27, 2020, at 1:00 PM ET.
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA.
Television Broadcast: This game won’t be nationally televised like the Bengals’ Week 2 Thursday Night match, but will air on CBS-TV. Locally, it will air on Cincinnati’s WCKY-AM (Ch. 12), Lexington’s WKYT-TV (Ch. 27), as well as Dayton’s WHIO-TV (Ch. 7). Former NFL player Adam Archuleta is the analyst. Play-by-play duties will be handled by Spero Dedes.
Radio Broadcast: The match-up will be aired locally via Bengals Radio Network. The radio broadcast will be headed by Cincy flagship stations WEBN-FM (102.7) and WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530). Dan Hoard will handle the play-by-play while Dave Lapham will work as analyst. The game will also be aired nationally on Campus Media Networks (Brian Baldinger as analyst and Chris Carrino on play-by-play).
Weather: High near 80. Partly cloudy, with 79% humidity and winds SE at 5-10 mph. (The Weather Channel)
Line: Phi -5.0
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
- Can QB Joe Burrow follow up with another impressive performance?
In Week 2, rookie quarterback Joe Burrow put the league on notice with a pretty good showing, which was also nationally televised. Burrow and the Bengals offense battled the entire night, drive after drive, as they attempted to come back. Although a losing effort, Joe Burrow finished the contest with over 300 passing yards and threw for three touchdowns. A very, very respectable stat line for a rookie. He wasn’t outstanding during the whole game, but he fought back and carried the offense like a franchise QB should. Another solid outing should surely boost the rookie’s confidence and give the Bengals a good chance to win.
- How will the Bengals offensive line hold up against a good Eagles defensive front?
The Bengals’ O-line has been shaky (to put it lightly) in the first two weeks of the 2020 season. Although they have graded solidly in certain regards, Cincy’s offensive line has given up six sacks and 14 QB hits through two weeks. They face off against an Eagles front that features several high-level players, including superstar All-Pro Fletcher Cox. This may, arguably, be the toughest test yet for the Bengals’ offensive line. They will certainly have their hands full throughout the day, but if they can do a solid job of giving Burrow time, the rookie will be able to make some plays.
- Can the defense buckle down to stop the run?
After two games, the Cincinnati Bengals rank 29th in rushing yards allowed on the season. They’ve also given up four rushing TDs and 5 YPC so far. The last game got pretty ugly, with the Cleveland Browns’ running backs having their way, en route to a 200+ yard performance on the ground. This will be vital to the team’s chances of winning because it will prevent Philadelphia from controlling the clock and time-of-possession, which is actually what the Bengals want to do.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- Attack the Eagles’ weak secondary – Even though, on paper, the Philadelphia secondary looks better than in 2019, they still don’t pose a true threat, outside of Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay. This secondary is also coming off a poor outing in Week 2, where Rams QB Jared Goff diced them up for three TDs and a 142.1 passer rating. The defensive backs for Philly didn’t seem to have an answer that game. Burrow and the Bengals have the requisite weapons to exploit this match-up, which may turn out to be their most advantageous of all.
- Get the running game going…FINALLY! – The Eagles have a great defensive line, but their linebackers are nothing to write home about. They have had trouble with the run this season, particularly this past week against the Los Angeles Rams. They allowed L.A.’s running backs to rush for a total of 191 yards, in addition to two TDs. Philly also allowed two rushing scores to the Washington Football Team in Week 1. Conversely, Cincinnati has been unable to get their rushing attack and star RB Joe Mixon going thus far in 2020. Mixon has yet to score or gain 100 yards this season. Philly’s defense will give the Bengals a good chance to get the ground game going.
- Blocking schemes – As mentioned earlier, Cincy’s offensive line has struggled, and the Eagles defensive line is stout. They will, without a doubt, bring pressure on rookie Joe Burrow in order to rattle him and get him to make rookie mistakes, The Bengals have to dial up blocking schemes to neutralize Philadelphia’s D-line. This includes chip block using backs and tight ends, combo blocks, and heavy sets (extra TE and/or OL). Also, they will need to slide protection towards the weak-side.
- Be aggressive, especially on first down – Cincinnati opened up last week’s game with a deep shot to WR A.J. Green on the very first play of the game. This can be a great strategic play to keep the defense guessing and on their toes. The Bengals need to utilize play-action to move the Eagles’ below-average LBs around and create open space. A solid balance of run and pass — rather than the telegraphed first-down run that is oh-so-common with inexperienced quarterbacks — will bode well for the offense. That could, in turn, help the run game, as well.
- Pressure Carson Wentz – Philadelphia fans are some of the most blunt and honest you’ll come across in a single fanbase. It is safe to say that even they’d admit Eagles QB Carson Wentz has looked anything but good so far in this brief season. In his defense, Philly’s wide receiver corps is depleted. Yet, in all, Wentz looked very “off” in Week 2’s match against the Rams. He only completed 26-of-43 pass attempts, with two interceptions and zero TDs. Wentz seemed to get flustered quite a bit, missing several open targets. Without many threatening weapons outside of the tight ends, the Bengals defense can give the team a better chance to win by blitzing Carson Wentz and forcing him to make hurried decisions.
- The last time these two teams matched up was in 2016; a 32-14 beatdown by the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
- Eagles kicker Jake Elliot was a 2017 fifth-round draft pick by the Bengals.
- Cincinnati’s linebackers coach, Al Golden, is a former head coach of Temple University.
- Eagles quarterbacks coach, Press Taylor, is the brother of Cincinnati’s head coach, Zac Taylor.
- The Bengals lead the all-time, head-to-head series with a 9-3-1 record.
- Cincinnati will be wearing the white jersey/black pants combo for the game.
- Zac Taylor said it’s “truly been a week-to-week deal” in regards to whether stud defensive tackle Geno Atkins will being placed on IR.
- Defensive end Sam Hubbard leads all EDGEs in run stops.
(Featured Image Credit: Frank Victores for AP Photos / Bengals.com)