The New Orleans Saints play the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6 in a key matchup that will reveal whether the Saints can hold their own against a Super Bowl contender.
These 2022 Bengals aren't the same as last season and Cincy has posted the same record as the Saints through five weeks. The Bengals have nonetheless retained most of their elite talent from 2021 and pose as a dangerous offensive force -- much more dangerous than the Saints, for that matter.
Cincy players on both sides of the ball can wreck New Orleans, whether by snagging tide-turning interceptions or incredible touchdown grabs.
Here are the Bengals players the Saints need to look out for in Week 6.
The Saints know this guy pretty well. Trey Hendrickson has been an absolute menace for the Bengals after joining Cincinnati as a free agent, and he's been playing some of his best football ever since.
In 2021, Hendrickson recorded a career-high 14 sacks in 14 starts, and he's already notched 2.5 sacks this season.
Hendrickson will be very familiar with the Saints offense and serves as the Bengals' premier pass-rushing threat, capable of wreaking havoc on NOLA's O-line and whoever ends up playing quarterback.
The most the Saints can do is try to contain Hendrickson, but there's a good chance he'll be taking a Saints quarterback to the ground. Barring any controversial roughing the passer calls, of course.
Chase has been relatively quiet in his second season in Cincinnati (343 yards, two touchdowns), yet he still poses as a speedy threat against the Saints' pass defense.
Through five weeks, teams have found success in double-teaming Chase which in turn caused Tee Higgins to get more open looks. Higgins is currently questionable due to injury, so theoretically, if the Saints shut down Chase they can shut down the Bengals' passing attack.
There is an important caveat: Marshon Lattimore exited Week 5 with an abdomen injury and could reportedly miss Sunday's fixture against Cincinnati.
If that's the case, the Saints would be without their top corner and will likely start some combination of Paulson Adebo, Bradley Roby, and Justin Evans in the backfield.
Given Chase's precocious talents, we'd much rather stick a Pro Bowl vet like Lattimore on him. Should Lattimore miss more time, Chase gets a golden opportunity to feast on a weakened Saints secondary.
Wilson is essentially the Bengals' equivalent of Demario Davis.
Week 6's matchup will pit two extremely talented linebacker corps against each other, and while Pete Werner has been enjoying his best form so far, Wilson may be better.
The third-year linebacker has posted 33 combined tackles, 2 passes defended, and one interception in five games and in many ways embodies the heart of the Bengals' defense.
Cincy's defense, by the way, has been playing like a top-10 unit across the board and their stalwart linebacker unit could stop NOLA from getting any traction on the ground.
If the Saints opt to use Taysom Hill in any offensive packages like they did in Week 5, Logan Wilson will be the guy to sniff it out.
Joe Burrow is an elite quarterback. Jameis Winston/ Andy Dalton/ Taysom Hill are not. End of story.
The Bengals clearly win this quarterback matchup as long as Burrow continues to dominate the passing game. Cincy has not been running the ball well so far this year, and Burrow and the Bengals may look to take advantage of a Saints pass defense that has been plagued by injuries.
The 2021 Comeback Player of the Year does have a minor connection to New Orleans given his LSU roots, but make no mistake, he is the enemy. And he's a scary one at that.
The poise. The swagger. The ability to dig his team out of holes and complete late-game comebacks. No lead is safe when you're facing Joe Burrow, and we hope Dennis Allen has an airtight strategy for defending against Burrow's passing prowess.
This game could end up being close, but it could also end up being very, very ugly.