Nov 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
I recently interviewed Matthew Wilson, a co-editor of Stripe Hype, which is a great source to find all things related to the Cincinnati Bengals. I’ve partnered with him to exchange questions, and have done my best to pick his brain around a few things related to this Sunday’s matchup.
Andy Dalton is struggling, what seems to be the biggest problem for him right now?
His biggest problem may not be that of his own, the protection around him has been subject at best. It has forced him to make undesirable passes and mistakes that ultimately come back on this offensive line. His accuracy has come into question and as well as his decision-making under pressure. He is better when he has time and doesn’t have to escape the pocket.
The Bengals defense hasn’t looked nearly like it did last year, does the team miss Mike Zimmer that much? What do you attribute as potential breakdowns?
There will only be one real Mike Zimmer and he was the Bengals version of Dick LeBeau, who Defensive Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is in Minnesota now and the Bengals must move on but what hurts this defense though is that Paul Guenther is not as aggressive as Mike Zimmer was with his defensive schemes. Zimmer loved getting pressure on the QB, but it seems that Guenther is comfortable with just dropping back into coverage.
It’s the first of three AFC North showdowns for the New Orleans Saints, and the team could actually do the Bengals a favor by beating the Ravens and Steelers. How does it feel being in the best division of football right now? Do you see the Bengals sneaking in as a Wild Card, winning the division, or is it too early to tell?
It makes this division incredibly fun to watch, the problem for the Bengals is that they don’t seem to know how to handle being the top team in the toughest division. After their bye week, it almost looked like the team was falling apart with the loss to New England and the tie with Carolina. If they can’t find their groove again, the second half of the season will be a daunting task instead of fun to watch.
Saints’ fans are familiar with many of the Bengals weapons, and especially know about Jeremy Hill, who played college ball at LSU up the road in Baton Rouge. Who are some players that we might look for more than a few times on Sunday that can make an impact?
The always dangerous AJ Green, who Saints fans should be familiar with from his days at University of Georgia, is the biggest play maker from the Bengals. Saints fans may also remember the other Bengal playmaker on the defensive side, who is another former Bulldog, Geno Atkins. He is a strong defensive presence and leader, especially with Vontaze Burfict being out.
This matchup features two teams that could desperately use a win, how do you see this game playing out and who wins?
The Bengals must find a way to bounce back from the embarrassing loss to the Browns. The Saints must find a way to keep its head above water with the Panthers and Falcons still only a game behind. It will be a battle of who makes the least amount of mistakes and who can get the momentum early. I see it being an incredibly close game with so much on the line. Saints win 24-21 in another overtime battle.
Be sure to keep up with Stripe Hype on Twitter for all things related to the Cincinnati Bengals! Huge shout out to Matthew for your time! Enjoy the game Sunday!