One would think that with the wealth of offensive fireworks that the Cincinnati Bengals’ record would be better than their current 1-3. Yet, problems not involving their offense are the main culprits in their current funk. The Kansas City Chiefs with their somewhat anemic offense may be the cure that ails the Bengals as the two lock up at Arrowhead Stadium in what can be considered a “must-win” game for both teams. The Bengals are coming off a bye week – which may be beneficial to them, while the Chiefs are attempting to rebound from a 17-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.
The Bengals have offense to spare, led by their star quarterback, Carson Palmer (101-of-160, 1,171 yards, 10 touchdowns, 6 interceptions). Adding to the offensive fun are wide receivers Chad Johnson (28 catches, 495 yards, 3 TD’s) and reliable T.J. Houshmandzadeh (39-360-5 TD’s). The rushing attack is in a bit of a funk these days, but can rebound assuming that running back Rudi Johnson (58 carries, 177 yards) can return to full health. He’s listed as probable; assuming he cannot play, reserve Kenny Watson will take his place. The Bengals’ defense has taken several steps back as they were “middle-of-the-pack” last season. They’re ranked near the bottom of most defensive categories, so the chiefs may catch a break during the game at some point.
The Chiefs, if they want to visit the postseason, will need to improve on an offense ranked 30th in scoring (12.6 points/game), 28th in total offense (282.4 yards/gamne) and last in rushing offense (65.6 yards/game). RB Larry Johnson (has been subpar thus far (84-275) and will need to improve on those numbers; however, they have a rising star in WR Dwayne Bowe (22-369-3 TD’s) and the always reliable safety net tight end Tony Gonzalez (29-338-1 TD). Defense is why the Chiefs are relevant. Their linebackers, led by Napoleon Harris (43 tackles, 29 solo, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT), Donnie Edwards (38 tackles, 29 solo, 1 sack, 1 INT), along with an impressive defensive line – led by blitzing LB Derrick Johnson (31 tackles, 27 solo, 3 sacks, 1 INT) and DE Jared Allen (3.5 sacks).
The Bengals will need to get Palmer involved early and often, despite the Chiefs’ top-notch defense as their running game is questionable until RB Johnson’s status is more definite. The Chiefs’ defense will probably dictate how their offense will operate as RB Larry Johnson will probably be used at least between 22-25 times this weekend. Their defense will need to create turnovers enough times to where the Chiefs can score. The Bengals, unfortunately for the Chiefs, will overwhelm with large doses of WR Chad Johnson and Houshmandzadeh; Palmer will probably throw some interceptions, but they shouldn’t hurt them too much. the Bengals should win a fairly close one at Arrowhead this weekend.