Week 11 Preview: Cincinnati Bengals (6-3), 3rd AFC North
The Baltimore Ravens (6-3) are home to take on the surprise AFC North Team, Cincinnati Bengals (6-3). Big game for both teams as it has huge division ramifications. The Ravens are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The Bengals are coming off a tough loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that game the Bengals gave up an early lead but came back to make a game of it. The Bengals have given the Ravens headaches winning 4 of the last 7 meetings.
Cincinnati’s defense is thriving under coordinator Mike Zimmer. One reason for the success is the defensive line, they are stopping the run and they get to the quarterback. The defensive line is ranks 2nd versus the run with key players in DT Pat Sims and DT Domata Peko. Most the Bengals sacks have come from their defensive lineman Geno Atkins (4.5 sacks), Forrest Rucker (4 sacks) and Jonathan Fanene (3 sacks), Carlos Dunlap (3 sacks), and DE Robert Geathers (1.5), DE Michael Johnson (5 PD, 3 sacks) The unit has 25 sacks and is ranked 5th in points allowed (18.2). Ray Maualuga has 45 combined tackles. The team signed LB’s Manny Lawsen and Thomas Howard (52 combined tackles), both have been a positive addition.
The addition of S Reggie Nelson and CB Nate Clements has improved the secondary. The secondary ranked 10th passing yards allowed (217 yards per game) had a huge set back as CB Leon Hall is gone for the year with a (torn Achilles) injury. Hall was the unit’s best corner and had 2 of the team’s 4 interceptions.
Offense: The story for rookie quarterbacks besides Cam Newton has been Andy Dalton. Dalton has been consistent and doesn’t make too many mistakes. Dalton has 15 Td’s to 9 interceptions and has thrown for 1866 yards. The rookie QB has a 60.3 completion percentage. Dalton can read defenses and has a deep threat in rookie WR A.J. Green, who is explosive. Green has 41 receptions, 631 yards and leads the team with 6 TD’s. In addition to A.J. Green, the team has host of capable receivers in WR Andre Caldwell, WR Jerome Simpson and TE Jermaine Gresham (4 TD’s), all putting up excellent numbers. The offense is ranked 23rd in passing yards (207.4). The offensive line anchored by left tackle Andrew Whitworth has been protecting their rookie QB allowing just 12 sacks on the season. Running back Cedric Benson continues to be the work horse with a 3.9 yard average, 593 yards and 2 TD’s. The unit ranks 20th in rushing yards per game (104.7)