Bengals QB Andy Dalton vs. Denver cornerbacks
Dalton entered Week 2 as the NFL leader in passing yards, but he will be facing arguably the top cornerback tandem in the league Sunday when the Bengals play their home opener against the Denver Broncos.
Aqib Talib and Chris Harris have both represented Denver in the Pro Bowl the last two years, while Talib also went as a member of the New England Patriots in 2013.
“They trust their guys to cover,” Dalton said. “There’s a lot of one-on-ones out there that force you to make a play.”
Dalton didn’t face Talib and Harris last year when he was sidelined with a broken thumb, but he said going the process of helping backup AJ McCarron prepare for that game will have benefits this week.
“Any time you prepare for a team, especially against a team like this, it helps,” he said. “You get to know their personality and what they like to do.
“You have to trust our guys to win (the battles),” Dalton added. “That’s what it comes down to. When you get those one-on-one chances, our guys are going to have to make plays. Their guys are really good, they have some of the best corners. It comes down to winning those one-on-one matchups.”
Talib has 31 career interceptions, which is the most in the NFL since he came into the league in 2008 as a first-round pick of the Patriots.
His most recent pick was Sunday against Indianapolis, which he returned for 46 yards for a touchdown. It was the ninth pick-6 of his career, which is tied for fourth most in NFL history.
Harris, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2011, has 13 career interceptions and has returned three of them for scores.
“Both guys play the football well in the air, and that’s what you’ve got to do to be a good corner in the NFL,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “They get themselves in good position, and they’re able to play the football in the air.”