Two rebuilding franchises with potential face off this weekend, as the Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1) travel to face the Washington Redskins Football Team (2-7). Interestingly enough, this matchup features two No. 1 overall picks at quarterback, as Joe Burrow and Alex Smith will lead their respective offenses here in Week 11. Burrow has had an impressive rookie season thus far, as he ranks third in the league with 242 completions and leads all rookies with 2,485 passing yards. As for Smith, he will start his second consecutive game after fellow quarterback Kyle Allen went down with an ankle injury.
Both teams are coming off of losses, as the Bengals were trounced by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 36-10, and the Washington Football team lost 30-27 against the Detroit Lions thanks to a last-second field goal. The last time these two teams faced off was actually in London, where Cincinnati and Washington registered a tie at 27 apiece.
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The Bengals lead the all-time series against Washington, 5-4-1, and have won three out of the past four. Everyone will be interested in Joe Mixon's availability this week -- and it certainly is a major storyline to keep an eye on. The Bengals' rushing attack just hasn't been the same with him, but my focus when it comes to this matchup is on the passing game. Washington may statistically have best passing defense in the league with just an average of 194.7 passing yards allowed per game, but it would be hard to find anyone that claims Washington's secondary is objectively the best of the best in the NFL. Just last week, they allowed Matthew Stafford to complete 24 of 33 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, and also allowed Detroit to orchestrate a game-winning drive with just 16 seconds left on the clock. I'd be fine with letting Burrow throw it all over the yard on Sunday, and see if the Bengals can simply outscore Washington.
As for Washington, Smith passed for 390 yards last week -- marking the first time in his career he had passed for over 300 yards in consecutive games. Antonio Gibson only rushed for 45 yards on 13 carries, so Smith had to pick up the extra slack and he was able to do so. How successfully Washington can work through the air could also be their key to victory, as the Bengals' secondary let them down in a big way last week. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns while Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool all had huge days and combined for four total touchdowns.
I expect this matchup to be close, but I'm leaning towards the Bengals. Yes, Cincinnati's defense ranks seventh-worst in the league when it comes to total yards allowed per game, but Pittsburgh's offensive attack is pretty loaded. Washington's ranks fifth-worst in the league. It's true they may have found new life with Smith at the helm, but Washington will have to prove they can win a game before I get on the bandwagon.
Score: Bengals 27-26 over Washington