Here we are, Cincinnati Bengals fans – Christmas Eve!
Our old friends the Baltimore Ravens come to town for a high-noon kickoff tomorrow. We must say, it looks like a match-up that’s in Cincinnati’s favor. A win would be big because it gives us huge momentum, as well as the upper hand over a division rival right off the bat. Also, we don’t necessarily love the fact that Baltimore isn’t at full strength, but ……. well, actually, yes we do.
Let’s break down what we believe are the three keys to a Bengals’ win.
3 Keys to a Cincinnati Bengals Win
- Go after Joe. Joe Flacco will start, but he has been hurt and missed all of training camp and the preseason. Add to that the fact that he’s about as successful in Paul Brown Stadium (2-6 in the last 8 games, 5 TDs, 12 picks) as Dr. Evil is in taking over the world. It’s a situation that should make the Cincinnati pass rushers (remember, we’ve got Chris Smith and Jordan Willis now) giddy. Put some pressure on him, maybe a hit or two or 15, and their passing attack will crumble.
- Get our downfield passing game going. This one is almost a given when you have someone named AJ Green on your team. But we also drafted someone named John Ross. And there’s this guy we’ve been seeing named Tyler Eifert, who can go over the middle. And the Ravens D ranked 28th in the NFL last year in passing TDs. Score a few touchdowns and John Harbaugh’s squad will be forced to play catch-up with a rusty and gimpy quarterback. Getting to that point depends on how much time QB Andy Dalton gets from the offensive line. Speaking of which …
- Solid line play. Anyone who has read our blog more than once knows the O-line has been the team’s most concerning area. Baltimore is a good opponent to start with for us, since they only tallied 31 sacks last season. It’ll be a great confidence boost to our big uglies if they can keep Dalton upright. Plus, if we can establish a big-enough lead, they can practice some run blocking to use up clock late in the game.
So get ready, Cincinnati Bengals fans. We’ve waited a long time. And it’s about time we get back to the postseason. The first step is tomorrow.