Both teams are off to a good start in 2013, and both won on the road last week.
The Bengals defense has thrived at home, shutting down Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. However, it has struggled on the road, being beaten by Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer and thoroughly tested by Thad Lewis last week in Buffalo.
On Sunday the Bengals will attempt to take town Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, who are undefeated at home so far this year.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the key matchups in this one.
Geno Atkins vs. Larry Warford and Dominic Raiola
Detroit's combo of veteran center Dominic Raiola and rookie guard Larry Warford has been effective in 2013 thus far. You would expect a lot from a tandem that's been practicing against Ndamukong Suh all year.
According to Josh Kirkendall of Cincy Jungle, "Neither have allowed a quarterback sack and they have a combined five pressures on the quarterback." Their high-level play has also led to a bumper year for Reggie Bush, who presents a big threat to the Bengals defense.
Note: It will also be interesting to see who comes out with the better stat line, Geno or Suh.
Leon Hall vs. Calvin Johnson
The Bengals defense rarely pair cornerbacks with receivers for entire afternoons. However, following the success that Browns CB Joe Haden had against Megatron last week, Mike Zimmer could make some changes, as Sean O'Donnell of Bleacher Report writes:
Dialing up appropriate blitz packages at the right time and shadowing Johnson with top-tier cornerback Leon Hall look to be the best ways to contain this dangerous wide receiver.
Johnson wasn't at full health in Cleveland, which may have played a role in his stat line of three receptions for 25 yards. He's back practicing this week (although limited) and unfortunately for the Bengals, he appears to be on the mend.
Andy Dalton vs. Lions Defensive Line
The Bengals face an equally intimidating defensive line on Sunday. Rookie Ziggy Ansah, Nick Fairley and the formidable Suh are just some of the men Andy Dalton will be running from on Sunday.
According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Dalton could have a tough time staying upright:
First-round pick Ezekial Ansah has 3.0 sacks, which leads the team and is tied for first among NFL rookies, and has forced two fumbles. Ndamukong Suh has 2.5, while Nick Fairley has added 1.5.
The Bengals passing offense improved dramatically in Week 6, with Dalton finally silencing some of his critics. The real test will be going on the road to Motown and putting in a repeat performance against some big names.
Lions Secondary Receivers vs. Bengals Secondary Receivers
This game will be billed as A.J. Green vs. Calvin Johnson, but really it'll be the supporting cast of receivers who decide the outcome of this one.
The Bengals will first try to neutralize the Lions rushing attack, and Jim Schwartz is aware of how that will benefit the passing game:
If you want to stop the run and you have to get eight guys in the box, that leaves you one guy that you can double. If that goes to Calvin, then a guy like Joe [Fauria] or any of our other potential receivers on the play is singled up. If you want to double both of them, you’re going to be light in the run game.
The Lions will look to do exactly the same to the Bengals, stopping BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard whilst doubling A.J. Green.
That means that both teams will look to their secondary receivers/tight ends to be the difference-makers.
Detroit will look to Kris Durham, Joseph Fauria and Brandon Pettigrew while pass-catching RB Joique Bell's status remains questionable. Cincy will need another good outing from Mo Sanu, Marvin Jones, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert.
Let us know which matchups YOU'RE most looking forward to in the comments section below.
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