NFL Week 8 Preview: Colts at Bengals
The Indianapolis Colts visit the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Mike Alessandrini
Matchup: Indianapolis Colts offense vs. Cincinnati Bengals defense
- QB Jacoby Brissett vs. Bengals cornerbacks – The Colts quarterback has slowed down recently after a strong start to his 2017 season. Against Jacksonville last week, Brissett earned the lowest grade of his young career (36.8), bringing his season grade down to 69.7 (28th among quarterbacks). The former Patriots third-round pick has a 54.0 passer rating when throwing from a pressured pocket. Only three quarterbacks are pressured at a higher rate than Brissett’s 40.2 percent. Adam Jones could return from injury this week, but 2016 first-round pick William Jackson proved up to the task if the veteran is unable to suit up. Jackson earned a team-high 92.3 overall grade last week against Pittsburgh. On the other side, opposing quarterbacks have a 115.2 passer rating when targeting Dre Kirkpatrick this year.
- G Le’Raven Clark vs. DI Geno Atkins – Clark endured a rough outing against a fierce Jaguars defensive line last week. The sophomore surrendered six total pressures on 51 pass-block snaps. His 90.7 pass-blocking efficiency was fourth worst among guards during Week 7. Clark will have to slow down Geno Atkins if Indianapolis wants to win the battle of the trenches this week. Atkins’ 12.3 pass-rush productivity is fourth best among interior defenders in 2017, and he carries an 87.4 overall grade.
- TE Jack Doyle vs. LB Vontaze Burfict – Doyle was one of the few bright spots during a shutout defeat in Week 7. The tight end provided a reliable option underneath for Brissett, catching 6-of-7 targets for 44 yards while also not dropping a catchable pass. Doyle’s 9.09 drop rate (3 drops on 33 catchable targets) still ranks tied for the 11th highest among tight ends this year however. Burfict has covered opposing tight ends on a number of occasions this year. The linebacker has earned a strong 80.8 coverage grade in three games, averaging 13.9 coverage snaps per reception, fifth best at his position.
Coverage by: Lorin Cox
Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals offense vs. Indianapolis Colts defense
- G Clint Boling vs. DI Johnathan Hankins – Boling is the 19th highest-graded guard in the league this season, and he’s only allowed eight pressures on 217 pass-blocking snaps. However, run blocking has been his weaker area, with only a 61.1 grade that ranks 31st. Hankins is the Colts’ highest-graded defensive lineman this season and the 25th highest-graded interior defender at 82.2 overall. His 149 run snaps without a missed tackle this season is the fourth-most at his position in the league, and he leads the Colts’ defensive line with 12 pressures this season.
- RB Joe Mixon vs. LBs Jon Bostic and Antonio Morrison – Mixon hasn’t put up phenomenal traditional stats, but he’s still the 16th highest-graded running back in the NFL this season at 78.9 overall. He’s forced 10 missed tackles on 74 carries this season, but his 2.45 yards after contact per carry this season is the lowest on the Bengals and ranks 28th in the league. Bostic and Morrison are the lowest-graded linebacker duo this season at 37.3 and 34.8 overall respectively. Quarterbacks throwing at Bostic have a 127.9 passer rating, while Morrison has missed seven tackles this season, tied for the sixth-most among inside linebackers.
- WR A.J. Green vs. CB Vontae Davis – Green in the third-highest graded wide receiver so far this season at 86.3 overall, but Andy Dalton has made some mistakes when targeting him. Five of Dalton’s eight interceptions have come when targeting Green. Those five interceptions leave Green tied for the most interceptions when targeted this season. He’s still averaging 2.63 yards per route run, the third-highest mark in the NFL, and he’s only dropped one of his 26 catchable targets this season. Davis has allowed only 19 yards after the catch this season, the lowest among cornerbacks who have allowed at least eight catches this year, but it’s his work in coverage before the catch has lead to his 44.4 overall grade this season, which only that ranks 98th at his position.