Total Offense: 367.6 ypg (17th)
Passing Offense: 272.2 ypg (15th)
Rushing Offense: 95.4 ypg (23rd)
Points Per Game: 30.6 ppg (4th)
Steelers fans will recognize a familiar face under center when quarterback Andy Dalton takes the field for Cincinnati. Dalton currently sits at a 65.8 completion percentage, throwing for 1,445 yards and 12 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. Dalton’s passer rating (94.9) ranks 13th in the league, sitting one spot behind Tom Brady and better than the likes of Deshaun Watson, Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger.
Dalton’s protection up-front has been mostly clean, as his offensive line has given up just nine sacks on the season, tied with the Steelers for 20th in the league. The starting unit reads as follows from left to right: Cordy Glenn, Clint Boling, Trey Hopkins, Alex Redmond, Bobby Hart. Cincinnati’s offensive line is by no means horrendous, yet at times the play of the big men up-front can be shaky.
The Bengals rushing attack is led by second year back Joe Mixon. Mixon, when healthy, has been one of the more productive backs in the league both on the ground and through the air. Some have gone as far as to make comparisons to Le’Veon Bell, and while Bell is still clearly the better back, Mixon has shown he is capable of performing the same duties. Both Mixon and fellow running back Giovoni Bernard average over 4.5 yards per carry, with both tallying scores on the ground. Bernard has already been ruled out for Sunday’s contest, leaving a big workload for Mixon.
AJ Green continues to prove he’s one of the best receivers in the game, and is the leader on Cincinatti’s passing attack. Green has tallied 409 yards on 26 receptions to go along with 5 scores thus far in 2018. Green is capable of doing everything from running short slants to coming down with 50/50 balls, and will again provide the Steelers secondary with major issues.
John Ross, Cincinnati’s first round pick in 2017, will line up opposite of Green if he’s able to go. Ross currently sits as questionable, and would provide the Bengals with great speed outside of the numbers. Receiver Tyler Boyd has captured the hearts of Bengals fans (and fantasy owners) with is excellent play thus far, leading the team in receptions (30) and second only to Green in every other category.
As great as the Bengals receiving corps has been for Dalton, the same can’t be said for the tight end position. This isn’t to slight their play, but more-so reflective of their availability and health. Tyler Eifert is out for the season after suffering an ankle injury, and other tight end Tyler Kroft has been ruled out against Pittsburgh. The next man up is CJ Uzomah, who has seen an increase in snaps the past few weeks. Cincinatti won’t shy away from his using Uzomah, as his stat-line (9-117-1) mirrors that of Eifert’s (15-179-1).
Bill Lazor is currently in his first full season as offensive coordinator after taking over the reigns early last season. Cincinnati is currently seeing Lazor’s offense be quite successful, yielding one of the top scoring units in the league thus far. Lazor is creative and will find ways to get the ball in the hands of his best playmakers, lining the likes of Green and Mixon up in spots across the league.
The Bengals offense operates nearly identical to the Steelers, with a big emphasis on passing the football with rushing sprinkled into the gameplan. Both have been forced to air it out in some contests this year, which may give reason to the high amount of passes for each team. Expect the Bengals to feed a healthy Joe Mixon (20+ carries the last two games) and dial-up down field passes to Green/Boyd.