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2017 Opponent Scouting Report: Week 8, Bengals Special Teams, Wildcards, and a Prediction

Houston Texans v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images


On October 29, 2017 the Indianapolis Colts will take the short trip to Cincinnati. In this week eight match-up I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea for what we’re up against.

The Bengals finished 2016 with 6 wins, 9 losses, and 1 tie. The last time these two teams faced off our Colts came out victorious, winning 26 to 10 in a 2014 AFC Wildcard match up. That game featured a first quarter touchdown from Boom Herron and our boys never looked back. This time our Colts will have to face the Bengals without Luck and the majority of that 2014 roster, hopefully the result is no different this time around.

Let’s figure out what we can expect in week eight.

Kicker: Randy Bullock

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bullock is a career 82% kicker. So far in 2017 he’s set career numbers and is 7 for 8 on field goals and he’s batting 1.000 on extra points.

Honestly I don’t think it matters if Bullock is good, or bad, or sober on Sunday. It’s probably not going to matter.

Punter: Kevin Huber is a Famous Punter.

  • You might remember this:

He received a broken jaw and neck. Seriously he a cracked vertebrae on this play.

  • I know you remember this:

Because it was the smoothest move any punter has ever made.

Other than those two memorable clips, Huber is also a really good punter. He has a 47.4 yard average and he’s downed 15 inside the 20 yard line which is good for 3rd in the league.

He may not get to punt on Sunday but if he does, he’ll be good at it.

Returner: Alex Erickson

  • The kind of thing that I would get mad at when I was a kid playing Madden because it was unrealistic:

Erickson is a good but not great returner. He’s averaging 24.5 yards per kick return and 7.5 per punt return. He’s never taken one in for a touchdown but it’s only a matter of time and if our team continues to quit on its coaches and each other, we could see it happen and Erickson will be the beneficiary.

Final Thoughts for The Week

Peyton Manning isn’t walking through that door. Jeff Saturday, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, Bob Sanders, Antoine Bethea, none of them. That era of Colts football seems like ancient history.

When we drafted Luck and he had so much early success, I would have never thought that in his sixth season we would be staring down a top five pick. Here we are. We have seen this team falter and fail and while they’re probably going to win a couple games they have no business winning, it wont be this week.

The Bengals aren’t a playoff team, I think. It’s that hesitation of “I think” that lets me know they’re better than this Colts team. I think the Bengals are a 7-9 to 9-7 team. They play really well at times and they play below average football at other times. Even if we get the below average Bengals this weekend, they’re still better than the Indianapolis Colts.


Colts 17

Bengals 24

Draft Watch

This segment will keep an eye on our draft positioning as the year progresses. No, I’m not suggesting that we continue to throw the season or that we should all look forward to the draft until at least November. Rather I hope that this will allow us all to be aware of next off-season and realize how much our 2018 outlook can change from week to week, even though it really hasn’t. I expected more than two wins through this point in the season when I initially wrote this Draft Watch explanation. Pretty soon we’ll all be looking forward to a time when we can add real talent to the roster.

I would like to point out a really cool site that covers the NBA, NHL and NFL: Tankathon. It has a funny name but it serves a cool purpose, weeding out tie breakers to show who is slated to draft where.

2018 Colts Draft Position Post Week Three:

4th Overall

Our own Jake Arthur has put out his initial big board for the 2018 draft. Stampede Blue member SCColts posted his as well. A few of my favorite sites/ draft blogs include:

Matt Miller is kind of a basic bro who really does a great job with the NFL draft. I really respect the work he does even if he does worry about the heat he gets from twitter far too often. He isn’t afraid to admit when he misses on a prospect and while he isn’t a perfect media scout, I look forward to his Scouting Notebook that he puts out every Friday morning. He has a podcast called “Stick to Football” and I’ve listened to most episodes, but often his basic bro-ness is just too much for me to handle. As we get closer to the off season I believe Stick to Football will become required listening for learning more about the draft, but it’s really hit or miss as of today.

I also listen to the Move the Sticks podcast with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks. This podcast used to be excellent. I say “used to” because they’ve started to focus more on volume of content than quality. Bucky Brooks recently said that the Colts should move on from Andrew Luck. Brooks’ ongoing effort to become the NFL Network version of Skip Bayless is going well.

With that said both Jeremiah and Brooks are former pro scouts who each have a lot of scouting contacts. Much like Matt Miller’s Stick to Football, closer to draft season this podcast will be littered with good info and anonymous scouts talking about prospects. Last year I heard that Patrick Mahomes II had a chance to be the first QB taken on MTS before I heard it anywhere else. At the time most wondered if he would even be taken in the first round.

From time to time I head over and check out the forums on Footballs Future. This is a true internet forum free-for-all full of armchair draft scouts and their opinions vary wildly. This is a great place to go if you’re digging for some surprise 6th and 7th rounders or just looking for some opinions that differ from the “mainstream” ideas that will begin to form in the coming months.

This link is the most important draft link I will give you because it gives you the power to skip everything above. If you don’t know about Draft Breakdown, you should. You can watch film cutups from a ton of draft prospects that go over entire games in 5-10 minute clips. It’s an invaluable resource to someone who realizes highlight videos aren’t viable for understanding who a player is, but also has a life and responsibilities.

We still have half a season to go, but I wouldn’t blame you for daydreaming about the future.