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Bengals-Eagles Preview

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Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)


Philadelphia Eagles' Miles Sanders (26) runs past Los Angeles Rams' Troy Hill (22) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)


Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) breaks a tackle from Cleveland Browns cornerback Tavierre Thomas (20) during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mike Thomas celebrates after scoring a 4-yard touchdown during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles are dealing with adversity far earlier than usual. The Cincinnati Bengals are right where they've been for a while.

One of the teams should earn their first win Sunday - unless they tie - when the Bengals visit the Eagles.

An 0-2 start for the first time in five years with a difficult schedule upcoming has Philadelphia in a desperate spot in September. They've been in dire positions the past two Decembers and ended up in the playoffs.

''I think adversity hits in many different ways,'' Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. ''It's just a matter of how all the guys respond, how the coaches respond. And I think from a coaching standpoint, we've got to react positively to everything and get the guys going.''

The Bengals are looking to avoid their third 0-3 start in four years. They haven't had a winning season since 2015.

''Everybody's itching for the first win, and it's time to get that win,'' rookie quarterback Joe Burrow said. ''Everybody feels it in the building. There's some urgency.''

RUN OVER

The Bengals finished last against the run in 2019, allowing 149 yards per game. They overhauled the defense with an eye on stopping the run, but have been even worse in the first two games. The Chargers ran for 155 yards in an opening 16-13 win, and the Browns piled up 215 on the ground, putting it away with a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that consisted of all runs. They've been missing tackle Geno Atkins, sidelined both games with a shoulder injury, but it's much more than just the line. There have been missed tackles all around that turned short gains into long runs.

''We've struggled to stop the run, so you don't get that many attempts to get after the quarterback,'' end Carl Lawson said. ''Missed tackling is a big thing.''

CRITICIZING CARSON

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has struggled, tossing multiple picks in consecutive games for the first time in his career. Play-calling, inexperienced receivers and blocking in Week 1 have contributed to his inconsistency. But Pederson was critical of his franchise quarterback and fickle fans have piled on in Philadelphia.

''I'm not going to change anything drastically, by any means, it's just being smart and we'll be just fine,'' Wentz said. ''I'm confident in myself that I'll be just fine, and we'll take care of business.''

UP FRONT

Both teams have been plagued by injuries on the offensive line. For Cincinnati, Jonah Williams started at left tackle after missing his rookie season with a shoulder injury and has struggled at times. Right guard Xavier Su'a-Filo went on injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury in the opener. The lack of cohesion has left Burrow under steady pressure and left little room for Joe Mixon to run. Against the Browns, he was limited to 46 yards on 16 carries.

''We want to be more efficient in the run,'' center Trey Hopkins said. ''The way our games have gone, we've not always been in position to run the ball in some instances. In some instances we weren't very efficient at all. We weren't good enough. We weren't playing up to our standards.''

The Eagles lost left tackle Andre Dillard for the season in training camp. They lost three-time Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks in June. Three-time Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson missed Week 1. Left guard Isaac Seumalo will miss a few weeks with a knee injury.

HITTING THE ROAD

This is the Bengals' first game outside Ohio. They lost at home to the Chargers with no fans in Week 1 and lost at Cleveland - 250 miles north - in front of 6,000 fans last Thursday.

''It's certainly not the same as going on the road and having trouble with your communications,'' Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. ''I think that's the biggest thing of going on the road, having to work with silent cadence and all the communication stuff that comes with it. Obviously that's not really an issue when you're playing in an empty stadium or with 6,000 people.''

GOING DEEP

Burrow hasn't connected on many longer passes - he was 0-for-5 on deep throws in Week 1 - and that's a point of emphasis for the Bengals. Both the Chargers and Browns played deep coverage to try to make Burrow throw a lot of short stuff, which he did very well.

Wentz hit Jalen Reagor on a 55-yard play in Week 1, but didn't throw long last week. Reagor is out several weeks with a thumb injury.

Player Notes
Calvin Ridley Oct 29 10:10pm ET

Calvin Ridley has been ruled out for the Falcons' Week 8 game against the Panthers. He was tackled by a defender and his left foot got caught under the defender. Ridley immediately grabbed his left foot and went to the locker room. His status for Week 9 will now be in question.

From RotoBaller

La'Mical Perine Oct 29 9:50pm ET

New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine has been buried on the depth chart for most of the season. However, head coach Adam Gase mentioned last week that he wants to get Perine more involved. Perine was on the field for 70 percent of the offensive snaps during the Week 7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He saw 11 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He'll get a decent matchup here against the Kansas City Chiefs who are average against the run this season. Perine could be worth looking at as a desperation option for owners in need of a running back.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Oct 29 9:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (groin) was able to go through limited practice on Thursday. That is actually an upgrade since Crowder sat out of practice the day prior. Crowder has been basically the only bright spot for this team all season long. His absence would doom the Jets chances of doing anything at all on offense versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. Crowder has seen 10 or more targets in each game that he has played in this season. He'll be a reliable WR2, assuming he suits up here.

From RotoBaller

Frank Gore Oct 29 9:40pm ET

New York Jets running back Frank Gore has seen a significant role in the backfield this season. The departure of Le'Veon Bell has opened up lead back duties for Gore over the last few weeks. Sadly, the Jets offensive line and team as a whole is horrible this season. Gore has done what he can, but will likely see his role decrease going forward. Head coach Adam Gase wants to see La'Mical Perine more involved in the offense. That means, Gore is going to be a tough option to trust versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 29 9:30pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold showed no signs of life during the loss to the Buffalo Bills last week. Darnold returned after a two-game absence, but was torn apart by the Bills Defense in Week 7. He finished with 120 passing yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss. To be fair, Darnold doesn't have many weapons on the Jets, but his play under center has been difficult to watch. It won't get any easier for Darnold as he'll face off with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. A secondary that has allowed the ninth fewest amount of fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. There is no reason to start Darnold unless you absolutely have no other options. Hopefully Ben DiNucci is available because he's a better fantasy option this week than Darnold.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Oct 29 9:30pm ET

During the second quarter, Calvin Ridley was tackled from behind and immediately grabbed his left foot. Common injuries in the foot and ankle include lateral ankle sprains, high ankle sprains, mid-foot sprains, and turf toe. His status to return to the game is unknown at this time but considering this is a divisional game, the Falcons will do everything in their power to get him back on the field. His practice availability leading into Week 9 will be worth monitoring.

From RotoBaller

Gabriel Davis Oct 29 9:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis has put together a few decent performance this season. Sadly, his production has been inconsistent and it's tough to predict when he's going to see a significant role in the offense. Last week, Davis saw three targets and caught one of them for 11 yards in the victory over the New York Jets. Davis is not expected to be a reliable streaming option against the top-10 secondary of the New England Patriots in Week 8. Fantasy owners might be able to use him as a low-end desperation deep league option, but that's about it.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Oct 29 8:30pm ET

The Seattle Seahawks will have a running back active Sunday versus San Francisco, although whether it's any of the trio of Chris Carson (foot), Carlos Hyde (hamstring), or Travis Homer (knee) remains to be seen. None of the aforementioned trio practiced in any capacity Thursday, furthering the notion that DeeJay Dallas may be heavily relied upon for the game versus the 49ers. Of the three, Carson seems the most likely to miss the contest after initially being deemed week-to-week with a foot injury. Should Hyde or Homer suit up (with the other being ruled out), they'd immediately garner RB2/Flex intrigue due to the lack of depth in the Seattle backfield. Check back over the coming days to get a better idea of how the Seahawks' backfield woes will shake out.

From RotoBaller

Trey Burton Oct 29 8:30pm ET

Indianapolis Colts tight end Trey Burton has emerged as a legitimate weapon over the past two games. Over the last two games, he has nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown on 11 total targets. However, he is matching up against a Lions Defense that ranks second against opposing tight ends. Burton is also sharing snaps with Jack Doyle, but Burton is seeing many more targets in the passing game. The Lions have one of the worst run defenses in the league, so there's a chance that the Colts will not have a heavy passing attack unless they get behind early. Burton has been productive, but all this data points to him having some bust potential this week. He may have TE2 or flex potential, but he is certainly a risky play.

From RotoBaller

Chris Jones Oct 29 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin) was able to record a full practice session Thursday, a likely sign that he'll ultimately be given the green light to play Sunday against the Jets. The Chiefs Defense was already in a golden spot even with Jones' availability up in the air, but having the reigning Pro Bowler patrolling the line only enhances their value. Having accrued 21 tackles, nine quarterback hits, and 4.5 sacks in six games, Jones' presence should wreak havoc against a Jets offense that has struggled to muster much lightning in 2020. Despite Kansas City's struggles at stopping the run (149.9 yards per game) this year, they should be rostered in all season-long leagues on a streamer basis with the news of Jones likely being in the mix.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Oct 29 8:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) will be absent from Sunday's contest versus Chicago, marking his second consecutive game out of the mix. Prior to hitting the COVID-19 list, Sanders reeled off his best performance of the year with a 12-catch, 122-yard outing versus the Chargers, with his absence creating an opening in the WR ranks for the Saints. With Michael Thomas (hamstring) returning to practice Thursday, New Orleans may have some reinforcements against a stout Bears Defense, but Sanders' next chance to return to action comes next Sunday against Tampa Bay. The nature of the virus puts Sanders' availability up in the air, so check back for updates on his status as they emerge.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Oct 29 8:10pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has been unreliable so far this season, so it may be difficult to insert him in a fantasy lineup against the Lions this week. Philip Rivers threw the ball for over 370 yards in Week 6 against the Bengals, but Hilton caught just one pass for 11 yards. He has just one game all season with more than five catches. He also has not been able to salvage any poor fantasy days by finding the end zone. Rivers seems to have a new receiving option he likes to go to every week, so it has been incredibly difficult to find any bright spots for Hilton. It is hard to consider him a fringe flex option at this point, so he is probably best suited on the bench in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Oct 29 7:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (ribs) and wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip/ribs) were both limited during practice Thursday, marking the second consecutive day that their workload was managed. Despite the limited practice time, there's no reason to believe that either is in danger of not suiting up Sunday against the Raiders for what should be an advantageous matchup for both. With Nick Chubb (knee) still out of the equation, Hunt should remain the bell cow out of the backfield, while Landry should see an increase in targets in the wake of Odell Beckham Jr.'s (knee) season-ending knee injury. Check back prior to kickoff Sunday just to make sure that both eventually get the green light, but something would have to go sideways over the coming days for either to be held out.

From RotoBaller

Jonathan Taylor Oct 29 7:40pm ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor will have a great opportunity to put up a good fantasy performance against the Lions this week. The Lions rank 30th against opposing running backs, and Taylor continues to improve on his yards per carry. The Lions Defense is giving up 4.5 yards per carry and have surrendered nine rushing touchdowns so far this season. Taylor is averaging 16 carries per game since being name the starter, and he has picked up three rushing touchdowns in those five games. He has mostly put up respectable fantasy performances, and he should be able to again this week. Taylor is a must-start option in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Reagor Oct 29 7:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) is in line to play Sunday against Dallas, making his first appearance since Week 2. Reagor sustained a torn UCL in his right thumb, but is expected to revamp the team's wide receiving corps after losing DeSean Jackson (ankle) to injured reserve. Taken with the team's first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Reagor combined to make five catches for 96 yards in his first two games, logging 60 snaps in his final outing before hitting IR. With limited consistent options in the passing game for Carson Wentz to target, Reagor carries WR3/Flex potential this Sunday, especially when considering his matchup against an exploitable Cowboys secondary.

From RotoBaller

Mason Crosby Oct 29 7:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (calf/back) was held out of practice Thursday for the second consecutive day, a worrisome note that may force Green Bay to get creative Sunday against Minnesota. Crosby has been the team's kicker for every game since Week 1 of the 2007 season, continuing to excel this year while going 9-for-9 on field-goal attempts. Special teams coach Shawn Mennenga is confident that he'll have Crosby at his disposal, but even if that's the case, current weather projections have the wind gusts in Green Bay expected to approach 40 MPH. The combination of injury concerns and bad weather opens the door for season-long fantasy managers to consider another placekicking option Sunday despite Crosby's sustained excellence.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Oct 29 7:20pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (concussion) was able to practice in a limited capacity Thursday, leaving the door open that he could be cleared from the league's concussion protocol in time to suit up Sunday against the Chargers. Lindsay has reclaimed his prior form over his last two games, having compiled 180 yards rushing on 32 carries. The return of Melvin Gordon III is sure to complicate Denver's backfield situation moving forward, but when given the green light, Lindsay holds RB2/Flex appeal due to past success. With that being said, his matchup Sunday against a Chargers Defense that has allowed just one rushing touchdown all year -- when combined with his injury -- makes for an avoidable DFS spot. Check back to get updates on Lindsay's status as they become available.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Oct 29 7:20pm ET

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers will face off against the Lions in Week 8. Rivers is coming off his best performance of the season against the Bengals, but he will likely to revert back to what he was prior to Week 6. The Lions Defense has actually been fairly good against the pass, currently ranking ninth against opposing quarterbacks. They are allowing less than two passing touchdowns per game, and opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 94. Week 6 was the only game of the year where Rivers threw multiple touchdown passes, and that is largely due to them falling behind early. Fantasy owners can feel comfortable with Rivers on the bench this week.

From RotoBaller

Indianapolis Colts Oct 29 7:10pm ET

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard (groin) is moving in the right direction as it pertains suiting up Sunday versus Detroit, as he was a full practice participant Thursday. Leonard has been out of the mix for the past two games due to a groin ailment, but the Colts Defense has still soared out into elite company through its first six games. In the three full contests that he has appeared this season, Leonard already has two double-digit tackle efforts, while also having defended two passes. Having led the NFL in tackles as a rookie in 2018 before being named an All-Pro last year in just 13 games, Leonard's addition to the Colts linebacking core makes them an even more vaunted unit moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Higbee Oct 29 7:00pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (hand) was limited again at practice Thursday as he works his way back from a hand contusion that kept him out of the team's game Monday. The short week may prove problematic for Higbee, with an early Sunday start time against Miami on the horizon. In his absence, Gerald Everett (illness) secured his first touchdown of 2020, but he has also been tagged as questionable due to an illness. While Higbee has been consistent when on the field, his three-reception, 37-yard average leaves much to be desired from where many fantasy managers thought his production could be. If he does play Sunday, it sounds as if he'll still be nursing the injury, at best. Check back for the final word on his condition over the coming days.

From RotoBaller