Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#405 Cincinnati Bengals vs.
#406 Washington Redskins
Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 7:30pm EDT
FedEx Field, Landover
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s an interconference clash in week 2 of full preseason action on the NFL gridiron in the nation’s capital. The Cincinnati Bengals are on the road as they make the trip to face the Washington Redskins Thursday night. Cincinnati opened the preseason with a 38-17 road loss at the hands of Kansas City in their preseason opener Saturday night. Washington was drubbed 30-10 in their preseason debut as they were handled by Cleveland last Thursday. The Bengals own a 5-4-1 edge in the all-time regular-season contests between the teams: they tied 27-27 in the last meeting, which came in Cincinnati on October 30, 2016.

Cincinnati Bengals Looking to Figure Things Out

Cincinnati was pasted in the opening game of the preseason as they were sliced up by the Chiefs. After taking a 7-0 lead midway through the opening quarter, the Bengals gave up 24 unanswered points and never recovered in the contest. Cincinnati was outgained 400-274 in the game, gave up 23 first downs while picking up 16, and dropped the time of possession battle by a 31:47 to 28:13 margin in the contest. In addition to those struggles, the Bengals turned the ball over four times while forcing just one takeaway. Cincinnati had two lost fumbles on special teams, leading to 14 Kansas City points.

Andy Dalton was sharp in his early work, going seven of nine for 80 yards despite missing star receiver A.J. Green along with running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. In the battle for the #2 quarterback spot, rookie Ryan Finley acquitted himself nicely as he hit 13 of 18 passes for 109 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Meanwhile, Jeff Driskel completed only eight of 19 throws for 79 yards and a pick. There was no run game to speak of for the Bengals as the team ran the ball 12 times for 21 yards. Jordan Ellis led the team with all of 11 yards on three carries: he also hauled in a team-leading five passes for 44 yards plus a score. Tyler Boyd (28 yards), Stanley Morgan Jr. (42 yards) and Auden Tate (42 yards) each had three catches in the defeat. Tristan Vizcaino hit his lone extra-point attempt and his lone field goal try, which came from 47 yards. He’s battling with the incumbent kicker Randy Bullock, who hit his lone extra-point try. The Bengals have to be more disciplined after picking up 11 penalties for 115 yards in the contest.

“If guys are competitive and they’re being physically, it’s going to be a little bit chippy,” said head coach Zac Taylor, who called for his defense to be physical after Saturday night’s game. “That doesn’t bother me. You want to protect your teammates, so you don’t ever want it to escalate to something that could possibly injure somebody. But I’m OK if guys are getting after guys a little bit.”

Finley is trying to beat out Driskel for the No. 2 job. One advantage Driskel has is an ability to play special teams.

“I think tomorrow, we’re going to take a look at Driskel on special teams as well. He’s a weapon,” Taylor said. “He’s got good size. He’s got great speed, the athleticism. So don’t be surprised tomorrow if you see him kind of wrinkled in there a little bit in some other phases.

Update (8/14/19): Finley has been taking reps with the second unit in practice on Tuesday and Driskel was working as a wide receiver. Finley will be the first quarterback off the bench and Driskel will likely play in the second half.

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Washington Redskins Seeking Answers at QB

Washington was drubbed pretty thoroughly by Cleveland in their preseason opener last week and their search to figure out their QB situation will go on for at least another week. The Redskins were unable to get much going when they had the ball and they struggled when Cleveland had possession, leading to a one-sided defeat. Washington lost the total yardage battle 417-271 in the contest and gave up 23 first downs while picking up only 12, thereby negating a near-even (30:10 to 29:50 in favor of Cleveland) time of possession battle. The Redskins were hurt by four turnovers, including a pick-six, and they also allowed a punt return for a score.

Colt McCoy didn’t play in the preseason opener and still holds the top spot on the depth chart, mainly due to his experience in Jay Gruden’s system. Case Keenum, picked up after Denver let him go, finished only four of nine for 60 yards and a touchdown: 46 of his yards came on the touchdown pass. Josh Woodrum was six of 11 for 44 yards and a pick while rookie first-round pick Dwayne Haskins completed eight of 14 passes for 117 yards with two interceptions in his NFL debut. Craig Reynolds led the team with nine carries for 21 yards while Haskins added 17 yards on his two rushing attempts. Thirteen different players caught a pass for Washington with Darvin Kidsy (five receptions, 86 yards) and Kelvin Harmon (two grabs, 17 yards) the only two players to catch more than one ball. Dustin Hopkins hit his only extra point and his lone field goal attempt, which came from 35 yards.

Update (8/14/19): McCoy is being held out and is “still a little sore from the last day of practice,” according to Gruden. Keenum took most of the reps as the starting quarterback. Washington is being very careful with McCoy, who is coming off offseason leg surgery.

“It’s not quite where it was when [McCoy] was 100 percent without the injury. It’s something he’s still dealing with and will have to deal with,” Gruden said of McCoy’s injury. “Main thing is to make sure he’s comfortable back there and has enough strength to push off and throw and feels good about if he does get hit, that it’s healthy and stable, which it is.”

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Both teams have some serious issues to work out at this point in time. The Bengals are minus their #1 receiving threat in Green, who is dealing with an ankle injury. That, coupled with the turnover bug and a slew of penalties, are points of concern for first-year coach Zac Taylor. Washington got little to write home about from their quarterback situation and this will be a chance for someone to make a move. The Redskins are also dealing with left tackle Trent Williams holding out as he seems like he’s ready to close the Washington chapter of his career. Both teams were dismal in their respective openers: give a slight edge to the Redskins as they are at home here.

Prediction: Washington Redskins

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Neither offense was overly impressive in their preseason opener. Sure, Dalton led the Bengals to a touchdown on an early drive but Keenum threw a TD pass in the first quarter for Washington. Both teams petered out after that, leading to a pair of one-sided defeats as Cincinnati was drubbed by 21 and Washington by 20. Each team committed four turnovers in the contest and penalties were an issue as well. There are plenty of questions for both teams here: will we find any substantive answers?

The under is 3-0-2 in the Bengals’ last five overall, 3-0-1 in their last four on grass and 4-1-1 in their last six games on Thursday. Washington has seen the under go 12-5 in their last 17 games on grass. Given the way that both teams struggled in the opener, you have to lean toward this one falling under the number.

Prediction: Under

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We can reasonably expeet that guys like Mixon and Bernard for Cincinnati along with Adrian Peterson and McCoy will see the field for some extent in this one. After the miserable showings by both teams in the preseason opener, something is going to have to give for these teams. Washington has to figure out what to do with Trent Williams as he is doing the team no good holding out. Someone takes a step forward, even if it’s by default, in the Redskins’ QB battle: they hold a narrow edge at the half.

Prediction: Washington Redskins

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We saw both teams put up early touchdowns in their respective openers but their offenses fell flat after that. On the other side of the ball, their defenses were gashed by a pair of teams with plenty of offensive talent. Of course, no one will mistake the Bengals or Redskins for the Browns or Chiefs at this stage of the game. With that in mind, you have to think that the offenses will have their issues moving the sticks and putting points on the board. That helps keep this one under the number at the half.

Prediction: Under

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.