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Los Angeles Rams versus Cincinnati Bengals: Matchups to watch revisited

Let’s take a look at who won the battles presented by Sosa.

NFL: OCT 27 Bengals v Rams Photo by Ricky Swift/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams have returned to their winning ways by beating the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8 by a score of 24-10 in London, England. The Rams now head into their bye week 5-3, facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10.

Let’s revisit the matchups to watch:

RB Darrell Henderson versus Bengals’ front-seven

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Some might question why Todd Gurley isn’t named here, and he could be, but I’d personally love to see a heavy dose of Henderson in this contest. Henderson is only averaging 3.9 yards-per-carry (YPC), but he looks explosive and decisive, and continues to become more comfortable by the week. Luckily for the Rams, the Bengals’ run defense is ranked 28th in DVOA and dead last in YPC allowed with 5.2. This is the perfect game for the Rams to satisfy Gurley — though not overuse him in a game they absolutely should win — and to build more comfort for Henderson

Henderson received a decent amount of work, though nothing crazy came of it. Hendo had 11 rushing attempts for 49 yards, chipping in another two receptions for 20 yards. Like I suspected, Henderson out-touched Gurley 13-10. Hendo continues to look explosive and decisive in his runs, and the juice and physicality he runs with is very noticeable.

TE Gerald Everett versus Bengals’ secondary

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Everett leads all tight ends in targets since Week 4 with 34, converting 18 of those into receptions for 239 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals’ pass defense is just as bad as their run defense as they rank 29th in pass defense DVOA and 27th in yards per pass attempt (YPA) allowed. Everett has developed into a featured offensive weapon for the Rams, and it shouldn’t slow down with this matchup in Week 8.

Everett was as quiet as possible, pulling in only two receptions for 15 yards. Ironically, even with WR Brandin Cooks going down to injury early, the Rams and QB Jared Goff looked elsewhere in the passing attack, with WRs Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds receiving the bulk of the work.

DT Geno Atkins versus Rams’ interior OL

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Atkins hasn’t had the same impact he usually has, though he’s coming off a two-sack performance in Week 7 and will face the weakest part of the Rams’ offensive line as the interior trio has been lackluster all season. The trio of left guard David Edwards, center Brian Allen, and right guard Austin Blythe will have their hands full against one of the best defensive tackles in football.

If you told me Atkins didn’t even play, I’d believe you. He registered one single tackle and nothing else. The offensive line — all five — had a fantastic performance in pass pro, and even though there weren’t any massive rushes, they also performed admirably as run blockers.

CB Nickell Robey-Coleman versus WR Tyler Boyd

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Boyd is just about the only weapon left on the Bengals, though it isn’t exactly clear whether Robey-Coleman or Jalen Ramsey will cover him. Boyd has 45 receptions for 471 yards and one touchdown on the season, doing most of his damage in the slot. Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips allowed Ramsey to travel into the slot with Julio Jones in Week 7, so both cornerbacks could get some time covering the Bengals’ most potent threat.

Boyd was one of the Bengals’ biggest threats, registering six receptions for 65 yards in the game, though not all came against Robey-Coleman. The secondary was solid but unspectacular. They allowed QB Andy Dalton the opportunity to move the ball, but they ended drives without allowing a bunch of touchdowns.

EDGE Dante Fowler Jr. versus OT Andre Smith

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Fowler is coming off the best game of his career with a three-sack performance in Week 7, and is slated to oppose a bad backup tackle in Smith who might start after a two-week absence. This one could get ugly for the Bengals, because their offensive line is absolutely putrid, and well, they’ll need to block players like Fowler and Aaron Donald.

Smith didn’t actually play in the contest, though Fowler had no issues against his backup, John Jerry. Fowler chipped in with four tackles and 1.5 sacks on the day, stringing together two excellent contests in consecutive weeks now. Could Fowler be hitting his mid-season stride? Hopefully.