Bengals Pose One Specific Threat to Deshaun Watson in Week 1

The Bengals D's biggest strength could be a big issue for Watson.
Deshaun Watson could face one specific issue against the Bengals' defense in Week 1.
Deshaun Watson could face one specific issue against the Bengals' defense in Week 1. / Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals' defense isn't necessarily one to be afraid of. They ranked well in points and yards against last year, but that's in part because the offense put them in favorable spots. They were in the middle of the pack in yards per play allowed, and Pro Football Focus had them at No. 12 in the NFL.

There's one area they really stood out in, however, and that threatens to neutralize one important area of Deshaun Watson's game.

The Bengals only allowed 12.1 rushing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks in 2022, which was the fourth-lowest mark in the entire NFL. It marked an improvement on their already strong 14.8 per game from 2021. And those marks are especially impressive when they come from a team that plays in the same division as Lamar Jackson.

In fact, looking at the context of who their opponents were, you could argue they're the NFL's best team at shutting down rushing quarterbacks.

  • Jackson was only active for one Bengals-Ravens game last year, and he was limited to 58 yards on the ground — well below his average of 68.6 per game when healthy.  
  • The Atlanta Falcons' Marcus Mariota was coming off back-to-back 50-yard games on the ground before Cincy held him to 31.
  • Even healthy in the regular season, Patrick Mahomes had only 9 rushing yards (vs. a 21 per-game season average) against the Bengals.
  • Josh Allen averaged 44.8 rushing yards per game in the regular season, then had only 26 when the Bengals eliminated him. His 3.25 per attempt in that postseason game was well below his season average of 6.2.

Deshaun Watson Rushing Yards Prop Bet

The betting markets clearly know what's up, projecting Watson's rushing yard total at just 23.5, while he has a career average of 30.9 per game.

Watson has hit at least 24 rushing yards in 42 of 61 (68.9%) career games, Two of those times he fell short were games in which he played limited snaps, too, which bumps that rate to about 71%.

That might make the Over look kind of appealing, but to me it instead highlights just how well Cincy will be able to contain him. We also didn't see Watson rush as effectively in 2022 as he had early in his career with the Texans, posting a career-low in yards per carry. Pro Football Focus had him ranked 23rd in rushing grade among qualifying QBs.

So that 23.5-yard line might look low, but I honestly side toward the Under.

That doesn't mean the Browns can't upset the Bengals, but it does mean that if Watson is going to do damage it's going to have to all be with his arm.

The nice thing about betting on this prop in Week 1 is that DraftKings will give you a $200 bonus whether you win or lose. If you sign up through the exclusive Factory of Sadness link below and bet on (or against) Watson, you'll get a $200 bonus guaranteed. Cash in now before the offer expires!

Anything else you need to know about DraftKings is also sure to be covered in the in-depth review that the Factory of Sadness team has put together.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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