The Saints are coming off a big win and traveling to Cincinnati as 6 point favorites in their game against the Bengals. The Bengals will be without AJ Green for this game. This is a huge loss for the Bengals. AJ Green is arguably the best player at his position and just having him on the field makes this offense run at a high level. The attention he requires from the defense opens up opportunities for the rest of his teammates. AJ Green has been the catalyst to the Bengals offense since he was drafted and the Bengals struggle without him.
When I looked into the 10 games the Bengals have played without AJ Green I was surprised to find out they have actually won 4 games. Then I looked into the numbers and noticed 3 of the 4 wins were coming against teams with losing records. To go into further detail, Andy Dalton has thrown for 10 TDs in the 10 games without Green, but in the 5 games against teams with winning records he threw for only 2 TDs. Here are all his numbers against teams with a winning record when AJ Green does not play:
Some may say that the Saints coming off such a huge win, will be due for a let down game this week. While I agree that can happen I do not think that will be the case this week. The Saints defense has had its struggles but has come around in the past few weeks. They are ranked 3rd in rushing defense and they have done a good job every week to limit their opponents production from the running back position. That will factor in this week as Bengals RB Joe Mixon should be getting an increase in targets. Without AJ Green the Saints defense will be able to increase their focus on stopping Mixon and the other Bengals players.
The Bengals rank 12th in overall offensive efficiency (15th passing 16th rushing). This ranking comes with AJ Green playing, of course. This also comes after playing the 2nd easiest schedule of opposing defenses. The offense has especially struggled lately, gaining less than 300 yards in 2 of their last 3 games. This includes only gaining 239 total yards against a Chiefs defense ranked 27th in overall efficiency (Saints rank is 28th). In the Chiefs game, AJ Green had 117 receiving yards, accounting for almost half of his team’s total yards. It’s impossible to replace the production AJ Green gives your offense. That is why I see the Bengals having trouble keeping up with the Saints this week. I see the Bengals having issues moving the ball and keeping their defense off the field. This will probably be another game where they have less than 300 total yards. I like the Saints to cover this number on the road.
New Orleans Saints -6