Skip to main content

Contipell's Countdown: Top Storylines As The Bengals Face The Broncos

The Bengals hit the road west to take on the Broncos as both teams are vying for a playoff spot with four weeks left in the regular season. Cincinnati is currently in the 9th position while Denver sits in 10th in the AFC playoff picture, as both teams are third in their respective divisions. 

Here are five things to know ahead of Sunday's Week 15 matchup with the Denver Broncos: 

1. Sack Attack

Entering Week 15, the Bengals are tied for second in the league with 37 sacks, a major improvement from the 17 the team had all of 2020. The defense has recorded at least one sack in every game this season, and has gotten multiple sacks in 11 games including each of the last seven. The Bengals are coming off a defensive performance where they sacked Jimmy Garoppolo five times, tying the single-game high from Week 7 when the team sacked Lamar Jackson that same amount. With 5.5 sacks each, Larry Ogunjobi and B.J. Hill have already tied their single-season career-high in sacks, as Sam Hubbard is one full sack away from tying his career-high of 8.5. 

The team brought in Trey Hendrickson this off-season after the fifth-year veteran posted the second-most sacks in the league last season with 13.5, hoping he'd provide that same type of production in Cincinnati. Through 13 games, Hendrickson leads the team with 12.5 sacks and is on pace to finish the regular season with 16. Hendrickson has at least one full sack in nine straight games, which is tied for the third-longest streak in NFL history. 

2. T(hr)ee's Company 

Tee Higgins became the first Bengal since A.J. Green to record three straight 100-yard receiving games. Green set the team record in 2013 by posting five consecutive games with 100 or more receiving yards. Over the last three games, Higgins has averaged over 18 yards per reception and has hauled in 69.7% of his targets.

3. Making His Ja'Marrk 

Ja'Marr Chase broke a long-standing record last Sunday, passing Isaac Curtis for most touchdown receptions by a Bengals rookie when he caught his ninth and tenth against the 49ers. Chase also surpassed 1,000-receiving yards on the season and is now just 23 yards shy of breaking Green's rookie receiving yardage record. Chase is the fifth rookie receiver in the Super Bowl era with 1,000-receiving yards and 10-receiving touchdowns in a single season. With eight more receptions, Chase will break the Bengals rookie reception of 67 shared by Cris Collinsworth and Higgins. 

4. Road Runners

Cincinnati is on the road for the first time since November 21, and it's a position they've been successful in this year. The Bengals are 4-2 in road games this season, and in those four wins, the team is averaging over 32 points per game and has posted a double-digit win margin in each. 

5. Rocky Mountain Low 

Sunday will be the final game against the AFC North this season for Denver, as the Broncos enter the matchup against the Bengals searching for their first win against the division. Denver is 0-3 against the AFC North in 2021, as the Broncos have failed to score more than 20 points in any of those contests. 

The Broncos have struggled since 2020 against teams who bring in seven or more wins, as Denver is 0-5. The Bengals will go for win number eight on Sunday, the highest win total for a season since they won 12 games in 2015.