Free Press sports writers predict the Detroit Lions‘ Week 6 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Ford Field:
The Bengals have not won a postseason game since Jan. 6, 1991 — a year before the Lions’ last playoff win — but they look like a playoff team this year. Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Co. make up one of the most dangerous passing attacks in the NFL, and while the Bengals don’t anything spectacular on defense, they have enough talent to get by.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Why Lions CB A.J. Parker’s connection with the city goes beyond football
MORE FROM BIRKETT: Lions vs. Bengals: Scouting report, prediction
The Lions, conversely, don’t do much well on defense, and their secondary will have its hands full. As usual, the Lions’ best bet to steal a win is to get their running game going early and control the clock. Both teams are coming off emotional losses, so there could be some slop early. And turnovers have been an issue for both quarterbacks. I think this one stays close throughout, but I have more faith in the Bengals’ ability to put the ball in the end zone with Burrow pulling the trigger. The pick: Bengals 28, Lions 23.
Even with Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon, coach Zac Taylor’s offense isn’t living up to its potential or expectations. It’s actually the defense, which ranks 11th overall and eighth in scoring, that’s carrying the load for the Bengals, who are coming off a wild overtime loss to the Packers. The Lions are hurt and low on talent, but this is a winnable game if the defense does enough, Dan Campbell calls a conservative game and the offense can limit turnovers and come through near the red zone. The pick: Lions 19, Bengals 17.
‘MAN ON A MISSION’: Charles Harris has gone from draft bust to Lions sack leader
The question is starting to grow: When will the Lions win a game? It won’t be this week because the Bengals will go for a last-second field goal and (stop me if this sounds familiar, only worse) the ball will hit off the left upright, defy gravity and soar through the air hitting off the right upright and – doink! – bounce off the crossbar and slip into the net, crushing whatever heart is left in Lions fans. Same score, same ending. No. I’m kidding. It can’t happen again. Right? Right!!! The pick: Bengals 19, Lions 17.
At least this time the loss won’t come at the buzzer. No team deserves that cruelty, not even the Lions. Still, once again, the Lions stay competitive and can’t quite get the win. The pick: Bengals 23, Lions 19.