PFF Preview: Broncos @ Bengals, Week 16
With a win on the final Monday Night Football game of 2014, the path to the playoffs for the Cincinnati Bengals will be simple. Win their Week 17 game against division rivals Pittsburgh and they’re in. The only problem with that is that they’ll have to beat one of the best teams in the NFL on Monday night in the Denver Broncos.
Denver started off the season winning on the arm of quarterback Peyton Manning, but over the last half of the season, they’ve been winning a different way. They’ve asked running back C.J. Anderson to carry the load, and he’s responded in a huge way. Since Week 10, no running back has gained more yards than Anderson’s 597, or had a higher overall grade over that timespan than his +16.6. If the Broncos are going to keep their chances of homefield advantage throughout the playoffs alive, it all starts with the legs of Anderson.
The Bengals this season have generally had a tough time stopping the run. Their starting front seven grades out at cumulative run defense mark of -16.9. As a team the Bengals are allowed 124.8 rushing yards per game, the ninth most in the league. Defensive tackle Domata Peko has had a particularly tough time, with a run stop grade of -11.5 on the year. Considering 30% of Anderson’s carries and 31% of his yards come when running at Peko’s position, the Bengals will need Peko to step up his game in order to help slow down the Broncos’ dangerous rushing attack
Here are three other players that could help decide the outcome of this game for their teams:
Demaryius Thomas – Currently second in the NFL among receivers with a +18.0 overall grade. His passing grade of +16.4 is third.
Von Miller – Owns an overall grade of +48.0 which is the second highest among 4-3 outside linebackers, and his pass rush grade of +33.6 is the tops at his position, 26.6 points higher than the second best.
Chris Harris Jr. – His pass coverage grade of +23.4 is the highest among all cornerbacks in the NFL this season.
Andrew Whitworth – Whitworth has allowed an unbelievable eight total QB pressures in 463 snaps, good for a league best 98.7 Pass Blocking Efficiency among tackles.
A.J. Green – His 3.17 Yards Per Route Run is the highest among receivers in the NFL by nearly 0.4 yards.
Geno Atkins – Atkins has 37 total QB pressures this season, which is the sixth most among defensive tackles in the NFL.
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