NFL Week 11 Preview: Bengals at Broncos
The Cincinnati Bengals visit the Denver Broncos in Week 11 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
PFFELO Ranking: 20
Coverage by: Lorin Cox
- QB Andy Dalton post routes vs. Broncos pass coverage – Dalton has had a lot of success throwing post routes this season, and fortunately for his Bengals, the Broncos have struggled to defend them. Dalton has completed 12-of-17 attempts for 301 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions, good for a 113.0 passer rating. Nine of his completions on post routes have gone to A.J. Green for three touchdowns. The Broncos’ secondary has been targeted eight times against post routes, allowing six catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 154.2 passer rating. Those six catches have come against five different defenders in coverage.
- T Cedric Ogbuehi vs. Edge Shaquil Barrett – Ogbuehi hasn’t been able to consistently hold down the blind side, earning just a 41.1 overall grade this season that ranks 69th out of 79 qualifying tackles. He has given up five sacks, two hits and 18 hurries on 250 pass blocking snaps this season, giving him a pass blocking efficiency rating of 92.0 that ranks 66th at his position. Barrett rushes the passer from the right side of the defense 81.5 percent of the time this season, opposite of Broncos’ star Von Miller. Barrett has generated three sacks, five hits and 15 hurries on 189 pass-rushing snaps, giving him a pass-rushing productivity rating of 9.5 that ranks 22nd among 3-4 outside linebackers.
- WR Brandon LaFell vs. CB Chris Harris Jr. – LaFell has been the Bengals’ most targeted receiver over the last two weeks. Since their bye week (Week 6), he has run 63.0 percent of his routes out of the slot, averaging 1.64 yards per route run. That has been a big improvement from his 0.62 average yards per route run from the first five games of the season. Harris is only allowing one reception every 17.6 coverage snaps in the slot, the second-best mark among cornerbacks with at least 55 coverage snaps in the slot. However, 46 of his 77 yards allowed in slot coverage have come after the catch, and quarterbacks targeting him when he lines up between the hashes have a 97.3 passer rating.
PFFELO Ranking: 22
Coverage by: Daniel Cohen
Matchup: Denver Broncos offense vs. Cincinnati Bengals defense
- WR Demaryius Thomas vs. CB Dre Kirkpatrick – We’ve been seeing a trend with Kirkpatrick over his career, where he has alternated seasons with grades above 60.0 (even-numbered years) and grades below 50.0 (odd-numbered years). Well, it’s 2017 and sure enough his overall grade is down at 42.9 heading into this week, which presents an appetizing matchup for Thomas. Thomas’ overall grade of 75.2 ranks 44th of 113 wide receivers, and he’s been fairly productive on a per-route basis. He’s averaging 1.85 yards per route run, 23rd best among 93 receivers with at least 25 targets. He has a very winnable matchup this week as he’ll try to extend his touchdown streak to three games.
- G Ron Leary vs. DI Geno Atkins – The Broncos’ highest graded offensive lineman has a matchup this week against the elite Atkins, who has been the second-highest graded interior defender to this point (90.7 overall). Only the Los Angeles Rams‘ Aaron Donald (53 pressures) has more pressures at the position than Atkins (43 pressures). Leary has a pass-blocking efficiency rating of 97.7, fourth-highest among all guards (min. 215 pass block snaps). He’s allowed just 10 pressures all year on 332 pass block snaps.
- T Allen Barbre vs. Edge Carlos Dunlap – These two will often face off in the run game, where it will be key for Barbre to set the edge and contain Dunlap. Barbre has struggled in pass protection, but has graded middle of the pack in run blocking (69.9 run-blocking grade). Dunlap has been a force in run defense, as his run-defense grade of 86.5 is tied for 11th-highest among all edge defenders. Dunlap has had just one game this season where he hasn’t graded above average against the run. Managing this productive defensive line will be key for the Broncos’ offense.