Bengals vs. Lions Game Notes

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Television: FOX broadcast with Thom Brennaman (play-by-play), Chris Spielman (analyst) and Jennifer Hale (sideline reporter). The game will air in Cincinnati on WXIX-TV (Channel 19). Additional regional FOX affiliates include WGRT-TV (Ch. 45) in Dayton, WTTE-TV (Ch. 28) in Columbus, WLIO-TV (Ch. 8.2) in Lima, WDKY-TV (Ch. 56) in Lexington. and WDRB-TV (Ch. 41) in Louisville. 

Radio: Coverage on the Bengals Radio Network, led by a "triple-cast" on Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

Setting the scene: The Cincinnati Bengals this week host the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. And while the Bengals will not have the hope of making the playoffs as an incentive to beat the Lions, they will have the prospect of playing the role of spoiler to use as motivation.

Cincinnati lost to the Minnesota Vikings 34-7 last week at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. It was the third straight loss for the Bengals, dropping them to 5-9 and officially eliminating their remaining chances to qualify for postseason. Detroit, which earned their second straight win last week with a 20-10 home victory vs. Chicago, comes to town with an 8-6 record and still is very much in the hunt for an NFC Wild Card spot. The game is the 2017 home finale for the Bengals, who close out the season next week at Baltimore.

"This (losing streak) has been rough on all of us," said head coach Marvin Lewis, "but the only way out of it is to fight our way out of it. Our guys realize that the best way to turn things around is to get things in gear and go win, so let's finish this season the correct way and win these last two ballgames."

Against Minnesota, Cincinnati's starting lineup was shuffled significantly due to injuries for the second straight week, particularly on defense. As they had a week earlier in a 33-7 loss vs. the Chicago Bears, the Bengals entered the Vikings game without six regular starters, including five on defense. Minnesota, which is poised to clinch a much-coveted bye on Wild Card weekend and possibly home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, capitalized on Cincinnati's depleted units and controlled much of the game in front of an enthusiastic and energized home crowd. The Vikings jumped out to 24-0 halftime lead en route to the win, and the Bengals' offense was unable to counter against a deficit which continued to grow throughout the game. Cincinnati added a late score with 6:22 left when HB Giovani Bernard had a two-yard touchdown run for the game's final points, but it was one of few Bengals highlights.

"You don't want to play from behind against a team that is playing well," said Lewis. "That makes it tough. We struggled the last two weeks after not executing early in the games. Playing catch-up in the NFL isn't an easy thing to do."

On the final stat sheet, the Vikings held significant advantages over the Bengals in net yards (346-161), total first downs (18-8), net rushing yards (124-46) and time of possession (35:52-24:08). QB Case Keenum staged a near flawless game for Minnesota, completing 20 of 23 passes for 236 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon caught seven passes for 114 yards on top of his 27 yards rushing.

"You have to find a way to stay motivated," said WR Brandon LaFell, when asked about preparing to play Detroit after three straight losses. "You can't be looking to teammates or coaches for motivation — you have to motivate yourself. You have to have pride, and you have to play for yourself and your teammates. As hard as it is, you have to find a way."

This week's matchup with the Lions will be the third meeting between Lewis and Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell faced the Bengals as a head coach of the Indianapolis Colts twice — in 2010 (a 23-17 Colts win) and '11 (a 27-17 Bengals win) — but this is his first matchup against Cincinnati as head coach of the Lions.

Though it hasn't been the case thus far this season, Lewis' Bengals teams historically are bad news for the NFC North Division. Cincinnati owns a 10-5 record under Lewis against teams from the NFC North. The Bengals won the first seven of those meetings before going 3-5 in the last eight matchups. Detroit will be the last of three straight NFC North opponents for the Bengals in 2017, and the final of four overall. Cincinnati is 0-3 against the NFC North this season thus far. In addition to last week's loss to the Vikings and the Bears two weeks ago, the Bengals fell to the Green Bay Packers 27-24 in overtime in Game 3.

Against Detroit, Cincinnati will look to revive an edge they possessed over NFC teams overall for five seasons from 2011-15. During that time, the Bengals won 15 of 20 matchups with NFC opponents, going 15-4-1 (.775 winning percentage). That stretch included a 27-24 win against the Lions at Detroit in 2013. Over the past two seasons, however, the Bengals' edge over NFC foes has weakened. In seven meetings since the start of last season, NFC foes have gone 5-1-1 against Cincinnati.

The series: The Bengals have won eight of the last nine against the Lions, including five straight. Cincinnati owns an 8-3 series lead, and its .727 winning percentage against Detroit is their second-highest against any NFL foe, topped only by a .730 percentage against Philadelphia (9-3-1).

The last three Bengals wins over the Lions have been part of AFC North Division championship seasons for Cincinnati. In 2005, the Bengals won 41-17 at Detroit, clinching the AFC North title on Dec. 18. In 2009, the Bengals won 23-13 at home on Dec. 6. And on Oct. 20, 2013, the Bengals won 27-24 at Detroit.

The Bengals lead 3-2 in games at Cincinnati. Detroit's two wins at Cincinnati occurred in 1974 (23-19 at Riverfront Stadium; it was the Lions' first visit to the Queen City) and in '92 (19-13 at Riverfront). The two teams have met in Cincinnati just once since that 1992 game, in 2009. 

Team bests from the series:

Bengals — MOST POINTS: 42, in a 42-7 win at Cincinnati in 1989. LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 35, in the 42-7 win in '89. FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: 7, in the '89 game.

Lions — MOST POINTS: 38, in a 38-3 win at Detroit in 1970. LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 35, in the 38-3 game in '70. FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: 3, in the '70 game.

Bengals career records watch: Here is a look at potential upcoming movement in the Bengals' career records book (regular season).

      ●  QB Andy Dalton has 22 career 300-yard passing games, one shy of QB Boomer Esiason for the Bengals' all-time lead.

      ●  Dalton also has 3471 career passing attempts, 93 shy of Esiason (3564) for second place all-time. QB Ken Anderson (4475) is the Bengals' all-time leader. Dalton passed QB Carson Palmer (3217) for third place all-time in Game 5, Oct. 8 vs. Buffalo.

      ●  WR A.J. Green has 31 career 100-yard receiving games, tied with WR Chad Johnson for the Bengals' all-time lead.

      ●  Green also has 57 career receiving TDs, six shy of WR Carl Pickens (63) for second place all-time. Johnson (66) is the Bengals' all-time leader. Green passed WR Isaac Curtis (53) for third place all-time in Game 9, Nov. 12 at Tennessee.

      ●  Green also has 57 career total TDs, seven shy of Pickens and RB James Brooks (64) for third place all-time. FB Pete Johnson (70) is the Bengals' all-time leader. Green passed WR Isaac Curtis (53) for fifth place all-time in Game 9, Nov. 12 at Tennessee.

      ●  DE Carlos Dunlap has 62.5 career sacks, tied with LB Reggie Williams* for second place all-time. DE Eddie Edwards* (83.5) is the Bengals' all-time leader. Dunlap passed DE Ross Browner* (59) for third place all-time in Game 10, Nov. 19 at Denver.

      ●  DT Geno Atkins has 61 career sacks, 1.5 shy of Dunlap and Williams (62.5) for second place all-time. Edwards* (83.5) is the Bengals' all-time leader.

      *NOTE: The NFL has counted sacks as official statistics since 1982. However, the Bengals have sack statistics compiled since 1976 and recognize those sacks recorded from '76-81 in its records. Thus, please note that, because the NFL has sacks statistics for all teams only since 1982, the Bengals' sack statistics for players whose careers included seasons prior to '82 will not be included in league information.

Records vs. Lions: The longest rushing gain in Bengals history was 96 yards for a TD by HB Corey Dillon, at Detroit on Oct. 28, 2001.

The most interception return yards in a game occurred on Nov. 22, 1992 vs. Detroit, when LB James Francis recorded 107 return yards on two INTs.

The most kickoff return yards against the Bengals in a game has been 229 (on five returns) by Detroit's Desmond Howard in 2001. Howard did not have a return for a TD in the game.

Individually vs. Lions: Current Bengals' past offensive performances for Cincinnati against Detroit include:

      ●  QB Andy Dalton: One game; 24-for-34 passing (70.6 percent) for 372 yards, and three TDs (135.9 rating).

      ●  WR A.J. Green: One game; Six catches for 155 yards (25.8), with one TD.

      ●  HB Giovani Bernard: One game; Seven rushes for 27 yards (3.9); Five receptions for 32 yards (6.4).

      ●  TE Tyler Eifert (Reserve/Injured): One game; Three receptions for 45 yards (15.0), with one TD.

Bengals' defense locks down the red zone: The Bengals currently rank third in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing touchdowns on only 44.0 percent of opponents' trips into the red zone (22 of 50). Opponents have come away with points on 92.0 percent of their trips to the red zone (24 FGs, 22 TDs).

Last week at Minnesota, the Bengals allowed TDs on three of four Vikings trips to the red zone.

The Lions enter this weekend's game ranked 13th in red-zone offense, scoring 23 TDs in 40 trips.

Bengals' road offense converts in red zone: Scoring on the road can be difficult for any offense, and so is scoring TDs in the red zone. But the Bengals have managed near perfection when combining both of those challenges, scoring TDs on 12 of their 13 trips in the red zone as the road team this season. That 92.3-percent TD conversion rate is the best in the NFL, with the Lions (12 of 18; 66.7 percent), Jets (eight of 12; 66.7 percent), Raiders (six of nine; 66.7 percent) and Redskins (12 of 18; 66.7 percent) coming closest.

Prior to Game 9 at Tennessee, the Bengals' road offense had been a perfect eight-for-eight on the year at converting red-zone trips to TDs. A fumbled snap — and Titans recovery — on the first of their two red-zone trips, though, spelled the end of the streak.

Last week at Minnesota, the Bengals scored a TD on their only trip to the red zone.

Overall, Cincinnati ranks 14th in scoring TDs in the red zone, reaching the end zone in 20 of their 35 trips (57.1 percent).

Here's a look at each of the Bengals' road games this season, along with how their offense fared in the red zone.

GAME    DATE         OPP                      RED-ZONE TRIPS        TD         PCT

3            9-24-17      @G.B.............................................. 3          3       1.000

4            10-1-17      @Cle............................................... 2          2       1.000

6            10-22-17    @Pitt............................................... 2          2       1.000

8            11-5-17      @Jax.............................................. 1          1       1.000

9            11-12-17    @Tenn............................................ 2          1         .500

10          11-19-17    @Den............................................. 2          2       1.000

14          12-17-17    @Minn............................................ 1          1       1.000

TOTALS........................................................................ 13        12         92.3

NFC beware of The Jungle: The Bengals are 19-7-2 (.714 winning percentage) in their last 28 games against NFC teams at Paul Brown Stadium, including a 6-1-1 mark in the last eight such games.

Cincinnati's game this weekend vs. Detroit is the second of two games against NFC teams at PBS this season (the first was Dec. 10 vs. Chicago).

Twenty-seven of the last 28 games vs. the NFC at PBS have been played under head coach Marvin Lewis (18-7-2; .704).

Here's a look at the Bengals' last eight games vs. NFC teams at Paul Brown Stadium:

DATE           OPPONENT                                                                 RESULT

9-22-13        Green Bay................................................. Bengals won, 34-30

12-22-13      Minnesota.................................................. Bengals won, 42-14

9-14-14        Atlanta....................................................... Bengals won, 24-10

10-12-14      Carolina............................... Bengals-Panthers tied, 37-37 (OT)

10-11-15      Seattle............................................... Bengals won, 27-24 (OT)

11-29-15      St. Louis...................................................... Bengals won, 31-7

12-4-16        Philadelphia............................................... Bengals won, 32-14

12-10-17      Chicago........................................................... Bears won, 33-7

One home game, a 27-27 tie with the Washington Redskins on Oct. 30, 2016, is not noted in these statistics because it was played in London, England.

Bengals-Lions connections: Lions WR Marvin Jones was a fifth-round draft pick (166th overall) of the Bengals in 2012 and was with Cincinnati through the '15 season ... Bengals DT Ryan Glasgow and Lions C/G Graham Glasgow are brothers, and they played together at the University of Michigan ... Lions RB Tion Green played at the University of Cincinnati ... Lions T Taylor Decker is from Vandalia, Ohio (Vandalia Butler High School) and played at Ohio State University ... Bengals HB Cedric Peerman (Reserve/Injured) was with the Lions during the 2009 season ... Bengals OT Jake Fisher (Reserve/Non-Football Illness) is from Traverse City, Michigan (Traverse City West High School) ... Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard played at Michigan State University ... Lions DT Christian Ringo was with the Bengals briefly earlier this season ... Lions TE Michael Roberts, S Rolan Milligan (practice squad) and G Zac Kerin (Reserve/Injured) played at the University of Toledo. Kerin is from Delaware, Ohio (Olentangy High School) ... Bengals assistant head coach/offensive line coach Paul Alexander coached at the University of Michigan from 1985-86, and at Central Michigan University from 1987-91 ... Lions head coach Jim Caldwell coached at the University of Louisville in 1985 ... Lions linebackers coach Bill Sheridan coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1989-91.

Uniform watch: The Bengals are scheduled to wear black jerseys and white pants this week vs. Detroit.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising