PFF Preview: Broncos @ Bengals, Week 16

The final Monday Night game of 2014 features a pair of quality teams with tons to play for and Bryson Vesnaver checks in with his take on the game.

| 3 years ago

PFF Preview: Broncos @ Bengals, Week 16

2014-Prev-WK16-DEN@CINWith 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:

Denver Broncos

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.

Cincinnati Bengals

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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| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

  • Malachi

    worried about my broncos pass rush getting blanked for the second straight week, but the win is more important, obv.

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    It sure would have been a more even race if any other team in the AFC North had to face either the Broncos or the Pats this season. Thx a lot NFL Scheduling! Who knows with this division though? There could be a major upset this weekend.

    • Chris

      That’s what happens when you win your division. I’m not writing them off in this one though. Peyton has been slumping, he doesn’t play well in the cold, the Bengals are better at home, and other than that 4Q meltdown against Pittsburgh the defense has been pretty good lately. Too bad we won’t get Burfict back :/

      • Riffle,Rod&Fly

        Yeah, tell me about it. Jones, Eifert, Burfict Smith and Green is still missing practices. Who am I forgetting? That’s late season football for you.

  • Adam

    If CIN beats Denver, the worst they could finish would be 10-5-1. Since KC/SD/BUF have 8 wins, they cannot pass Cincinnati by virtue of its tie against Carolina even if they also get to 10 wins (which both cannot).

    So the intro paragraph is incorrect – the Bengals would clinch the AFC North if they win out, but they will clinch a postseason with one more victory (since no more than 5 teams, mathematically, can achieve 11 wins), and their odds of getting in even if they go 0-2 here out are still meaningful, given that KC/SD/PIT all have to play each other (or play other tough games, such as SD v. SF)

    Unless I am missing something here which is entirely possible ?

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      The general disbelief and ignorance by the media towards the Bengals trumps little trifles such as mathematical possibility. They still think Baltimore is a shoo-in and that Pittsburgh is exponentially better than Cincy despite losing to the Bucs, Saints and only having 1 dominant qtr against the Bengals. I appreciate the effort, it will probably fall on deaf ears.