The Cincinnati Bengals were widely listed as 6.5-point favorites over the Houston Texans for Sunday’s matchup, but that was before star receiver Tee Higgins and starting defensive end Sam Hubbard were ruled out.
Plus, Joe Burrow’s favorite target, Ja’Marr Chase, is highly questionable to play.
Bengals’ HC Zac Taylor ruled out WR Tee Higgins and DE Sam Hubbard for Sunday’s game vs. the Texans.
In spite of all these extenuating factors that don’t at all work to the Bengals’ advantage, the spread hasn’t budged, at least from what this writer has seen on DraftKings’ latest NFL lines throughout the week.
We’re talking about an opponent in the Texans who have a rookie quarterback in C.J. Stroud who’s thrown 14 TDs to only one interception. They boast a 4-4 record coming into Cincinnati despite a 0-2 start. And yet… the Bengals remain prohibitive favorites.
Why is that? It pretty much boils down to the elite play of one Joseph Lee Burrow. Some spicy content has dropped throughout this week, and the lack of spread/line movement against a formidable opponent is as good a reason as any to plug it in this space.
ICYMI, Burrow spits out verbose play calls with the best of them and couldn’t be more calm in doing so. This footage is legitimately mesmerizing.
“OK BIG DEAL!” you might be saying. Isn’t it the bare minimum that NFL QBs can spit out play calls? Sure. Fine. May I interest you in Burrow breaking down, in expert detail, his first TD pass from last week’s victory over the Buffalo Bills?
What’s better than listening to @JoeyB mic’d up on “Inside the NFL”? How about Joe Burrow listening to himself mic’d up. Oh btw, then taking us through how he attacked the @buffalobills disguised palm coverage, gave @teehiggins5 shining, & Irv Smith Jr. beating the perfect… pic.twitter.com/VXlz2lKvNr
To process the post-snap picture that quickly, recognize there’s only one option in the passing play, and throw it to that read with surgical precision against the grain of the defensive back’s leverage?
Irv Smith Jr. deserves credit for getting open on the play; Burrow deserves just as much for his recognition and ability to diagnose what the Bills’ complex defense was doing.
Now for the grand finale. Ready? Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo literally spells out how Burrow and himself give each other tips on how to game plan.
Burrow provides Anarumo with feedback on disguised coverages, and based on what he sees, even recommends wrinkles to Anarumo’s game plan that he deploys to shut down Cincinnati’s adversaries.
A calf injury hobbled Burrow early on. I swear this guy can’t catch a break. COVID and draft prep for the offseason he entered the NFL as a rookie. His next OTA period and much of training camp was rehabbing/shaking off the rust from major knee surgery. Last year, his appendix f*cking exploded. In 2023? Of course, something else popped up — that nagging calf.
After looking like a shell of himself amid the Bengals’ 1-3 start, he’s gotten healthy and started to play arguably the best ball of his career to date amid a four-game winning streak.
Joe Burrow of the @Bengals is the second QB in NFL history to complete at least 75.0% of his passes (min. 150 attempts) while throwing for 10+ TDs over a 4-game span.
Joe Brrr is cookin’. Look out, league — and look out on Sunday, Houston Texans. If the oddsmakers are proven correct, sounds like y’all are in for a reality check.
No matter who’s on the field for the Bengals, as long as No. 9 is out there and healthy, everyone not on Cincinnati’s side is liable to be entering a world of pain.
Of course, even the great LSU coach, Ed Orgeron, called Burrow the “smartest person in the room” during his time at LSU, and that included Ed and the rest of the coaches.
Even when they were recruiting him, Coach O knew:
“We have a football meeting and we had set up some plays that he had run at Ohio State… and all of the sudden we start watching the film, I start asking Joe questions, and I figured out immediately that Joe was the smartest person in the room, including me and all the coaches.
And I was happy bout that. And that showed me his football intelligence what I saw in that meeting, that’s what you see today.”