Bengals vs. Eagles: Best 1-on-1 Matchups for Thursday Night Football

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IDecember 13, 2012

Bengals vs. Eagles: Best 1-on-1 Matchups for Thursday Night Football

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    At first glance, tonight's Thursday Night Football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles is a snoozer. 

    However, for fans of teams in the AFC wild-card race, it's an important contest. 

    For those who couldn't care less about the outcome, there are a quartet of incredibly intriguing matchups that should keep you interested all evening. 

A.J. Green vs. Nnamdi Asomugha

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    A.J. Green and Nnamdi Asomugha will be the two biggest household names on the field tonight, and more often than not, they'll be matched up on the outside. 

    Asomugha is better in zone coverage, but he'll have the individual duty of trying to stop—or slow down—one of the game's most prolific wide receivers for most of the evening.

    The high-profile defensive back has played better in 2012 than he did in a troublesome 2011. However, Green has improved himself and can beat cornerbacks in a variety of ways.

    Green averages 10.3 targets per game and has accounted for 53 first downs this season. It's blatantly obvious that the Asomugha-Green matchup will have a drastic affect on tonight's outcome.  

Andrew Hawkins vs. Brandon Boykin

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    Andrew Hawkins has premier YAC ability out of the slot and has pieced together quite the productive season as an A.J. Green complement. 

    He started hot, cooled off, got hurt and now has 11 receptions on 16 total targets in his last two outings. 

    A guy built to stop him is Eagles rookie cornerback Brandon Boykin. 

    Although somewhat raw, the Georgia alum is super quick laterally and—just like Hawkins—has great short-area burst. 

    This, undoubtedly, will be a matchup worth watching this evening. 

Bryce Brown vs. Rey Maualuga

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    We all know about Bryce Brown's fumbling issues. However, he does average 5.7 yards per carry on the season and has tremendous acceleration once he reaches the second level. 

    That's where Rey Maualuga resides. 

    He leads the Bengals with 105 tackles and will have the assignment, like the rest of Cincinnati's linebackers, of slowing down Brown. 

    If Brown is kept at bay tonight, the Eagles will struggle to consistently move the football enough to stay with the Bengals offense. 

Evan Mathis vs. Geno Atkins

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    Geno Atkins vs. Evan Mathis is one of the best individual matchups of the 2012 season. 

    Despite playing on a much maligned offensive line, Mathis is one of the better guards in the league—take this sentence from Pro Football Focus as evidence: "Left guard Evan Mathis is by far our highest ranked guard in 2012."

    Atkins, on the other hand, is arguably the most underrated defender in all of football. 

    From his defensive tackle spot, this third-year pro has a ridiculous 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles on the year. 

    There really isn't an interior defensive lineman who's better at penetrating the backfield. 

    This will be a battle in the trenches that could sway the contest.