The Cincinnati Bengals have done a ton of things well this year, and that’s why they are a 2-1 team that is 1-1-1 ATS against the NFL odds. However, they are going to be in need of a lot of help from one of the worst rush defenses in the league if they are going to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in a 4:05 ET kickoff at EverBank Field.
The Bengals know that RB Maurice Jones-Drew is coming. He’s going to get his 20 carries, and that number could be a heck of a lot bigger. If Jacksonville is finding a way to win this game, MJD is how it’s going to happen. In spite of the fact that he didn’t have a preseason or a training camp, Jones-Drew is second in the league in rushing.
Cincinnati meanwhile, has allowed a whopping 155.0 yards per game on the ground this year, ranking second to last in the league. This isn’t a problem that the Bengals had last year, as they were ranked in the top half of the NFL in nearly every single defensive category, but this year, the team seems weak in the front seven at this point. Granted, we do have to remember that last week, QB Robert Griffin III rushed for 85 yards against this unit. However, even if you take all those yards out, that’s still an average of over 125 rushing yards per game against, and Head Coach Marvin Lewis, a defensive guy, knows that better than anyone else.
The secondary really could help out, knowing that this unit hasn’t gotten an interception yet this year either. However, DB Dre’ Kirkpatrick hasn’t taken a single snap in this, his rookie year, and DB Leon Hall is battling a calf injury that might once again keep him out for a second straight game.
On the trip to Jacksonville, the Bengals are slender 1 ½-point road favorites. Last year when these two met, the Jags were leading until late, when Cincinnati scored the final 14 points in the last two minutes to not just steal a victory, but a cover as well.