Eagles' defense could get healthy against Andy Dalton, Bengals

The Philadelphia Eagles head into Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals desperate to turn their road fortunes around. Doug Pederson's group is just 1-5 as the visitors this season. Much of that can be linked to the defense, which has allowed close to 25 points per game on the road compared to 13 points per game at Lincoln Financial Field.

This week presents an opportunity to buck the trend. The 3-7-1 Bengals rank 27th in the NFL in offensive points per game (19.4) and have surrendered 32 sacks on the season -- fourth-most in the league. The Eagles' pass rush has been quiet of late. If it is going to re-emerge, this is likely the game where it would happen.

Here are six Bengals players to watch, courtesy of NFL Nation reporter Katherine Terrell:


C Russell Bodine: Bodine was temporarily yanked from the game last Sunday in favor of T.J. Johnson, and the coaches didn’t elaborate as to the reason, or whether Johnson will get more playing time going forward. The offensive line has given up 32 sacks this season, so the Bengals will have to find a way to keep Andy Dalton upright.

RB Rex Burkhead: Burkhead was barely used until the fourth quarter of a loss to the Ravens, when he flashed what he could do in both the running game and the receiving game. The Bengals would be wise to try to get Burkhead involved more now that Giovani Bernard is down for the season. They can’t replace Bernard, but he could be a versatile weapon.

QB Andy Dalton: Dalton told ESPN that his shoulder was fine despite being on the injury report for two straight weeks. But something is amiss, whether it’s his shoulder, his receivers or his offensive line. He hasn’t had a passing rating of more than 80 since Oct. 23, and the Bengals offense has struggled with only one touchdown in the last six quarters.


CB Adam Jones: Jones mentioned that he hasn’t had many kick return opportunities this season (eight returns for 37 yards). The Bengals rank 24th in punt return yards per game. While Alex Erickson has flashed potential on kick returns, the Bengals longest punt return this season is only 18 yards.

CB Dre Kirkpatrick: Kirkpatrick and Jones mostly shut down Steve Smith last week, and Kirkpatrick has played well the last few games, despite playing last week with a knee injury. He has three interceptions this season, which ties a career high.

S Josh Shaw: Shaw started last week’s game as the third safety with Shawn Williams and his backup Derron Smith out. However, Shaw also exited with an ankle injury. The look of the Bengals secondary is questionable this week with so many injuries, but if Shaw and Williams are healthy, Shaw could potentially go back to his nickel corner role.