By Andrea Shellow @AyeJaieEss
As we inch towards the end of the 2016 season, a somber mood looms over The Jungle. This week the Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1) are taking on a conference mate, the Baltimore Ravens (5-5-0). Over the past 20 seasons this match-up is tied 20-20-0. This week we meet them for the first time this season, on their own turf. Within, the series, away games fair a little differently. The record has Baltimore leading at home 13-7-0. Cincinnati has taken the last 2 games that have been played in Baltimore. Will this week make number 3?
Last week we saw our guys take a spill at home verses the Buffalo Bills. There are a number of factors making this match-up a “do or die” type meeting for the Bengals. We will for sure need to rally together and pull this one out if there is even a tiny smidge of hope in making the playoffs.
For starters, there will have to be a crap ton of adjustments made due to the amount of injuries seen last week. Notably, AJ Green exited the game within the first 2 plays. Initially, his injury was thought to be season ending. It was thought that Green had a major hamstring injury. Monday it was confirmed that it was a sprain. Green was not ruled out for the season, but he is for sure out for the game this week.
Gio Bernard, however, was not as fortunate in the assessment of his injury. Bernard was injured and exited the game with an ACL injury. It was later confirmed that the running back had, in fact, torn his ACL. He is ruled out for the rest of the season. With these 2 key players out, we will need to see some good adjustments that will undoubtedly have players stepping up as they have not done before.
Additionally, it will be great to see the rookie WR Tyler Boyd step into his own and perhaps make more plays like he did in week 11. Boyd had 54 rushing yards and made his 1st career touchdown. Unfortunately, players get hurt in this game. Fortunately, it is in times like these that players who are in the background get a chance to step up and be seen. Unexpected plays by unexpected players will be the name of this game in Baltimore.
Again, the offensive line will have to wake up and protect Andy Dalton. The Ravens had just 1 sack against Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, but Dalton is the 3rd most sacked quarterback this year with 29 sacks. This is something that the Ravens are looking to capitalize on, so we have to do better at protecting him.
Lastly, Cincinnati will have to try their best to narrow the amount of rushing yards that they give up this week. On average this season the Bengals have given up roughly 123 yards per game, landing them 28th against rushing. If we are able to limit the amount of yards we give, this could be a key factor in pulling out a win. This would mean limiting the rising rookie RB Ken Dixon. While watching film they should be able to see that with each week this kid gets hungrier and hungrier, causing him to come out and get into the groove of doing exactly what he is paid to do, RUN!
Tough job ahead for the Bengals. It won’t be easy considering all that we are up against. I know that I, and other Bengals fans, will be on the edge of our seats yelling and throwing things. As my mom likes to say “ain’t nothing to it, but to do it”. LOL!
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