Week 6 Preview: New Orleans Saints vs Cincinnati Bengals

Two Louisiana icons return to the state that made them famous when the 2-3 Cincinnati Bengals visit the 2-3 New Orleans Saints this Sunday in Week 6. Both teams entered the season as perceived contenders, yet both teams find themselves chasing only their third win. The Bengals are 2-point favorites to take the victory and move to .500.
Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase earned immortality when they led LSU to an undefeated NCAA Championship season in 2019, and they've carried that success into the pros. 2021 was a dream season for the duo: Chase set the NFL rookie record for receiving yards in a season, and Burrow set Bengals franchise records in passing yards and passing touchdowns. But things haven't quite gone to plan in 2022. After an aggressive offseason focused on improving their offensive line, the Bengals' blocking has regressed. The team has allowed 18 sacks and ranks 30th in the league with their 3.3 rushing yards per attempt mark. If the Bengals want to compete this year, they'll need more stability up front.

As for the Bengals defense, they've carried on the steady play that lifted the team to a Super Bowl berth last year. They're a top 10 unit in several key categories, including points allowed, turnovers, net yards per passing attempt, and rushing yards per attempt. They've also held up their end of the bargain in all of the Bengals' losses, allowing under 23 points and 350 total yards in all three. If the offense can sort itself out, the Bengals will be a balanced, dangerous team in the stretch run.
The Saints offense could have a homecoming of its own if quarterback Andy Dalton takes the field against his former team. Dalton played nine solid seasons with the Bengals, compiling 31594 passing yards, 204 passing touchdowns, and a 70-61-2 record. Burrow took over starting duties in 2020, and Dalton has bounced around the league as a high-end backup and bridge quarterback ever since. He has won both games he's played against his former team. If he notches a third straight start in relief of injured quarterback Jameis Winston, the Bengals will assist him by peppering in touches for NFC Offensive Player of the Week Taysom Hill. Hill had four total touchdowns in Week 5.

The Saints defense hasn't been its usual self through the first five weeks of the regular season; after consecutive top-five points allowed finishes in 2020 and 2021, they find themselves 26th in the league this year. Part of that is the offense's fault: the Saints have the most giveaways in the league. But the defense isn't without blame, ranking 19th in net yards per pass attempt allowed and 16th in rushing yards per attempt. The Saints will have to show a lot more on both sides of the ball if they want to claw their way back to contention in 2022.

The New Orleans Saints host the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday in Week 6.   
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