Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions Matchup Preview (10/17/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions Matchup Preview (10/17/21)

Dan Campbell’s postgame tears reflected a feeling of sadness surrounding the Lions’ organization at the moment. It’s a different type of sadness to what the Jaguars are experiencing, but it’s very deflating for the Lions that there have been so many signs of progress and improvement, and yet, they sit here 0-5 heading into Week 6. The Bengals are progressing quite nicely in Year 2 for Joe Burrow and Year 3 for Zac Taylor, and it’s hard to imagine a feisty Cincinnati team having a tough time with this struggling Lions’ squad.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions Betting Odds

The Lions already had a lousy defense heading into this season, but they have now seen several vital players get injured, leaving them even worse off on that side of the ball. Ja’Marr Chase has been excellent in his rookie season, Joe Burrow is playing high-level football, and Joe Mixon should run all over the Lions’ defense. I’m taking the Bengals to cover, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they use this as an opportunity to blow out a lesser team and continue to prove why they belong in the playoff conversation in the AFC.

My predictions: Bengals win 27-20, Bengals cover, under 47.5 points

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, October 17th
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Ford Field – Detroit, MI
TV Coverage: FOX

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions Live Stream

Where can you watch Bengals vs. Lions online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Bengals vs. Lions Free Online Now.

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Injuries

Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow (neck) Q, OG Jackson Carman (illness) IR COVID-19, RB Samaje Perine (illness) IR COVID-19, CB Trae Waynes (hamstring) IR, OG Xavier Su’a-Filo (knee) IR
Detroit Lions: OT Taylor Decker (finger) Q, WR Tyrell Williams (concussion) IR, WR Quintez Cephus (collarbone) IR, C Frank Ragnow (toe) IR, DE Dashawn Hand (groin) IR, LB Romeo Okwara (Achilles) IR, CB Jeff Okudah (Achilles) IR

Cincinnati Bengals Analysis

While Justin Herbert is elevating into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Joe Burrow is steadily holding off the critics who will say the Bengals picked the wrong quarterback. Burrow has a 106.4 passer rating, the seventh-best in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks, and better than Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson. Burrow has also completed 71.7% of his passes, the fourth-best rate in the NFL. All that success comes despite the Bengals’ offensive line that has allowed him to be sacked 14 times so far, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL. According to Football Outsiders, the Bengals have allowed the sixth-highest adjusted sack rate in the league. Burrow’s mental fortitude has been impressive in coming back from devastating injuries and playing behind this line. Still, the Cincinnati front office has to prioritize bringing in offensive line help in the upcoming offseason.

While the Cincy offensive line continues to struggle, it’s hard to fault the franchise for selecting Ja’Marr Chase in the first round over offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Chase is tied for second in the NFL with five touchdown receptions and leads all players with 20+ catches with a 19.8 yards-per-reception rate. His chemistry with Joe Burrow is evident, and his future is very bright. It’s hard to believe that Chase is only 21 years old and didn’t play any football last year. The Lions don’t have any defenders who can hang with Chase in this matchup. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are still capable of providing consistent receiving production, but this is Chase’s team now. Joe Mixon was quiet last week coming off his injury, but he’s one of the most talented running backs in the NFL and currently ranks fifth in league with 386 rushing yards.

Defensively, things have been a lot better for the Bengals this season as they have allowed just 20 points per game, tied for the seventh-fewest in the NFL. That’s a massive improvement from last year when they allowed 26.5 points per game. Per Football Outsiders, the Bengals rank seventh in the NFL in defensive DVOA after ranking 27th last year. Free-agent signing Trey Hendrickson has 4.5 sacks, tied for the 10th-most in the NFL, and he’s formed a potent pass-rush duo with Sam Hubbard. Chidobe Awuzie has been an excellent addition at cornerback, and Logan Wilson, a third-round pick from last year, has progressed amazingly in his sophomore season. This defense is legit, and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo deserves a ton of credit for it.

Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

QB: Joe Burrow
RB1: Joe Mixon
RB2: Samaje Perine
WR1: Ja’Marr Chase
WR2: Tee Higgins
WR3: Tyler Boyd
TE1: C.J. Uzomah
TE2: Drew Sample

Detroit Lions Analysis

The trade of Matthew Stafford was always going to leave the Lions worse off at quarterback, but Jared Goff has been surprisingly competent this season. His raw numbers don’t jump off the page, but he’s done enough to keep the Lions in just about every game they’ve played this season. He ranks 22nd in the NFL with a 91.0 passer rating and 14th with a completion rate of 66.8%. Jared Goff will never live up to the hype that was attached to him when he was the top selection in the 2016 draft, but he’s been decent so far. Goff has, however, been held back by the situation surrounding him. With Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow injured, Detroit’s offensive line has not been as good as expected. Penei Sewell has been decent if inconsistent at left tackle, and he will be more comfortable once Decker returns and he can shift back to the right side.

D’Andre Swift has been the Lions’ best offensive weapon this season and the running back has 442 yards from scrimmage as he’s been a high-level runner and receiver. Jamaal Williams doesn’t rank too far behind him in terms of rushing and receiving success, and both players form a valuable backfield one-two punch. T.J. Hockenson has 24 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns this season, but he’s been quieter lately as he’s averaged just 24.3 yards per game over the past three weeks. The Lions’ wide receiver room has been a revolving cast of characters without much consistency, but rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown is hoping to change that. He has averaged 6.5 catches for 67.5 yards over the past two weeks and is coming into his own in the NFL. With Tyrell Williams still on Injured Reserve and Quintez Cephus likely out for the rest of the year with a broken collarbone, St. Brown’s emergence is all the more critical.

This season, the Lions rank just 29th in defensive DVOA, but it’s hard to blame the coaching or management given how many injuries the team has seen. Jeff Okudah, the 2020 first-round pick, was expected to be the team’s top corner in his sophomore season, and he’s out for the year with an Achilles injury suffered in Week 1. CB Ifeatu Melifonwu has also joined him on Injured Reserve. Romeo Okwara, the team’s top pass-rushing presence, is out for the rest of the year with a torn Achilles, while Dashawn Hand also popped up on the injury report this week. There aren’t many teams in the NFL that could withstand losing their top two cornerbacks, top pass-rusher, and a critical defensive lineman, so it’s no surprise that the Lions have one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

Detroit Lions Depth Chart

QB: Jared Goff
RB1: D’Andre Swift
RB2: Jamaal Williams
WR1: Amon-Ra St. Brown
WR2: Khalif Raymond
WR3: Quintez Cephus
TE1: T.J. Hockenson
TE2: Darren Fells

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions Daily Fantasy Picks

While this game may seem underwhelming on the surface, there is plenty of fantasy football value to be had for DFS lineups. Ja’Marr Chase stands out as he continues to outproduce preseason expectations and has yet to see his DFS pricing adjust to where it should be for the WR7 in half-PPR scoring. Joe Mixon is also a terrific value if we can start to feel more confident about his health as he has massive upside if he plays to his usual potential. On the Lions’ side, D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson are always solid options, while I’m intrigued by Amon-Ra St. Brown’s increasing role in the offense.

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I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. With my educational background in the sports business and a strong knowledge of the inner workings of professional and collegiate sports, I hope to tell enthralling stories about the world of sports as it unfolds around me.

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