Bengals suspect run defense spells good news for Falcons

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The Falcons are coming off the most impressive win of Arthur Smith’s tenure in Atlanta. They dominated a very talented 49ers team in every facet of the game. Coming into the game, the Niners’ vaunted defense was made out to be some immovable object. Well, the Falcons rushing attack was an unstoppable force — advantage Falcons. And now, they’ll travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals, who boast an incredibly suspect run defense

Coming into Week 6, the San Francisco defense was allowing an average of 71.4 yards rushing per game; Smith’s offense put up 168 yards on the ground, with three players eclipsing 50 yards. It was the fifth time the offense has rushed for at least 168 yards in six games, which called for celebration beers following the victory.

The Falcons have one of the top rushing offenses in the NFL — averaging 33.7 attempts per game (2nd), 165.2 yards per game (3rd), 4.9 yards per attempt (9th), and 702 rushing yards before contact (2nd).

The Bengals’ run defense was actually very good to begin the year. In the team’s first three games, Cincy allowed 86 rushing yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry, ranking eighth in the league over that time. But in the last few weeks, the Bengals have given up 156 yards per game and 5.6 per attempt, ranking 27th over that period.

The Saints just averaged 6.7 yards per carry, and a large reason for the Bengals’ recent struggles is the absence of D.J. Reader. Cincy’s defense ranks in the bottom third of the league in opponents rushing yards per game and yards per carry. With Reader out of the lineup, the Falcons have to be licking their chops.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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