The defensive line
As a big back who is hard to tackle, the Patriots better be ready to limit Mixon or else he’ll have a big game and keep the Bengals in the game.
Coming off a game in which is rushed for 146 yards on 23 carries against the Cleveland Browns, the Bengals big running back is definitely a focus for a defense that has been better against the run lately but has obviously struggled against hard-running backs like Joe Mixon.
Defensive line coach Brett Bielma highlighted those concerns earlier in the week.
"“It’s very easy to see on film preparation that he has one of the – we face a lot of great backs in this league, but I would say he stands out because he has the ability to break tackles,” Bielma said, via Patriots.com. “He’s powerful, but he also has a very quick burst – that things that they do with him to free him up at the line of scrimmage in between the tackles, but then he has the ability to get the edge.”"
While the Bengals don’t have much to work with through the air, the New England Patriots will stack the box in this game to try to contain Mixon. That means the combination of Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton really has to have big game in this one.
They must stay in their gaps and win the line of scrimmage which will force Mixon to the outside. Once that happens, linebackers like Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins should be there to prevent Mixon from setting the edge.