For the past few years, the Cincinnati Bengals have ushered in a quiet turnaround in the Queen City. The franchise more notable for its struggles in the last decade has suddenly found its footing, and has put together a solid team on both sides of the ball.
This season, in a stunning turn of events, its the steady 4-2 Bengals who find themselves in first place in the AFC North division and not the Pittsburgh Steelers of Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals have pulled elements from all of their tough divisional competition in forming a solid team. Here's more about what sets Cincinnati apart.
Bengals' Offensive Difference Maker: A.J. Green, WR. As far as electrifying talents go, Green is becoming a must watch along the lines of Calvin Johnson. Green and Andy Dalton have formed a nice pairing, and Green is arguably the most dynamic performer the Lions will face this year at the wide receiver spot. Not only is he a down field touchdown threat, but Detroit will have to watch for him over the middle of the field picking up chunks of yardage.
Bengals' Defensive Difference Maker: Geno Atkins, DT. In the middle of the field, Atkins is a load worth noticing. He can sack the quarterback (4.0 already this year) as well as stuff the run. Worst of all for the competition, the increased focus on Atkins routinely frees up other Bengals like Carlos Dunlap. In that aspect. Atkins could be the perfect archetype for a defensive tackle. Dominic Raiola and company have their hands full this weekend if they want to keep Matthew Stafford upright and Reggie Bush healthy.
Bengals' Major Problem: Field goal kicking. Given the game will be played in a dome, this variable might not factor in as much, but the Bengals have had their failures in the kicking game this season. Mike Nugent is only 80 percent this season, having missed from the 30-39 yard range and once from 50+ distance. Given the Bengals and Lions are very evenly matched, the game could come down to a long field goal late in the game. If that happens, this statistic is certainly worth remembering.
Bengals' Major Strength: Team defense. It's almost impossible to narrow down which defensive statistic the Bengals excel most in. They rate 11th total defense, 10th in passing defense and 14th in rush defense. Cincinnati's front four also ranks seventh in sacks (18.0), adding additional level of concern to their push. The Bengals play exceptionally well as a group, so the Lions will have to make their adjustments sooner and play much better out of the gate than last week.
Intangibles: Road game at Ford Field. Despite being 3-0 at home with several big wins, the Bengals are only 1-2 on the road, including a late collapse against Chicago and a tough loss at Cleveland. Last weekend, the Bengals almost collapsed again in Buffalo, but managed to rally in time to win in overtime. There seems to be a different mindset on the road with Cincinnati, which could play a major role in a loud, tough environment like Detroit's.
You need to satisfy your competitive drive, so why not beat our experts in fantasy football. At FightClub, our official Fantasy Football partner, you can change you team weekly and win cash. Get a free $5 credit when you sign up and try them out. And each week, Sports Media 101 will sweeten the pot and award the player with top points an extra $25. Match-up and show them how good you are. Can you handle FightClub?
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Scouting the Opposition: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers Offense not Missing Greg Jennings
- Scouting the Opposition: Cleveland Browns Enjoying Big Dividends from Tight End Jordan Cameron
- Scouting the Opposition: Can Washington Redskins Slow Detroit Lions’ High-Flying Passing Attack?
- Scouting the Opposition: Will Arizona Cardinals Have Enough Mental Fortitude to Beat Detroit Lions?
- Scouting the Opposition: Can Minnesota Vikings Complete Big Pass Plays Against Detroit Lions?
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/12nl