If the Texans somehow beat the Patriots in New England a week from now and then keep chugging to the Super Bowl through an AFC road that will likely go through Denver, none of this will matter. We’ll look back on today’s game, and then regret looking back on today’s game. Let’s never speak of this again.
“Spread ‘em and shred ‘em” is the cliché most often associated with the ever-growing use of spread formations, and it’s something that the Cincinnati Bengals will have a chance to do in their Saturday afternoon matchup with the Houston Texans. To take it one step further, it’s something that the Bengals will have to do to pull off an upset win over the Texans, because it’s the best way to attack an injury-riddled brigade.
It’s also something that they didn’t do at this time last year. In last year’s Wildcard matchup, the Bengals traveled to Houston and got tamed with a 31-10 loss. Andy Dalton threw three interceptions and the offense, overall, didn’t look good. Not enough creativity, not enough matchup advantages, and simply not enough output.
They featured “12″ (one back, two tight ends) personnel with compressed formations far too often it seemed, trying to run the ball at the heart of the sturdy Houston front-seven and finding little to no success, and they didn’t spread the defense out until they were down by two touchdowns late. This time, play caller Jay Gruden can’t be down two touchdowns and scrambling to find something that works, especially if he wants to impress any potential future employers. There are several keys strategies that he should, in my opinion, aim to implement against Texans defense.
Cincinnati travels to Houston for the first game in what should be — fingers crossed — an exciting weekend of football. Almost exactly one year ago, the Bengals made the same trip, losing in a 31-10 blowout. One year later the expectations for both teams are considerably different.
Houston’s late season swoon — losses to New England, Minnesota and Indianapolis — cost them their first postseason bye in team history. Meanwhile the Bengals head into Saturday afternoon’s clash riding high, winning three straight games to close out the year. To the tape. Read the rest of this entry »
The Thursday night schedule this year has often provided us with entertainment that’s on par with a day which consists of a dentist appointment, followed by a trip to see the in-laws. Or worse, visiting your in-laws, and one of them is also a dentist.
The coma-inducing blowout games have far outnumber the few that have provided real, genuine entertainment, as we’ve been blessed with a 36-7 Giants win over the Panthers, and most recently the Broncos’ 26-13 pwning of Oakland. If we could just ban the AFC West with the exception of Denver from playing in primetime games, that would be swell.
If our Madden predictor is correct, you should find something else to do tonight. Anything really. Go balance spoons, or take your cat for a walk.
Any other activity would be a far better use of time, because you’ll never get those three hours back.
The Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders are making strides as organizations, but they’re still miles apart. That was evident this past Sunday, as the Bengals tormented their opponent with a throttling 34-10 victory. Cincinnati now sits at 6-5 and is on the verge of entering the knockout stages of the National Football League, while Oakland sulks near the basement of the AFC West once again with a mere three wins to their name, although I’m not entirely sure if they’re truly that poor of a club.
While the Raiders were rebuilding, the Bengals kept on building their lead. They threw touchdown after touchdown with short pass after short pass, which was akin to a rolling ball of paper cuts. Ins, outs, shoots, and slants were the routes of choice for the Bengals, and the Raiders seemingly had no answer for them. The slants, in particular, were detrimental to the Raiders’ defense, especially the Double Slants concept.
It can be argued that good coverage is the product of good corners and great coverage is the product of good pass-rushers.
A defense tremendously improves in the back end when its foundation, the defensive line, has ample athletes that can rush the opposition. But when it does not, the defense is as if founded on sand: softly built and briskly sinking as the rest of the defenders are forced to take on a heavier duty, resulting in more mental mistakes. The Cincinnati Bengals don’t have that issue, having been built quite sturdily against the pass as they showed on Sunday in their rout of the New York Giants when they amassed four sacks and two interceptions. The two interceptions, especially Nate Clements’, summed up the philosophical approach of the Bengals’ defense to a tee.
In this week’s edition of fantasy insomnia, we prey on the struggling Law Firm, delve into the depths of the Saints’ backfield, and place a couple of injury replacements under the microscope.
Brian Leonard (CIN / RB) – owned in 0% / 0% of ESPN/Yahoo leagues – BenJarvus Green-Ellis is yet to eclipse 100 yards rushing in a game this season. That’s forced the Bengals to try something different. They clearly aren’t enthralled with their backup Brian Leonard, but they don’t have any other choice. Last week, Leonard had four carries and three receptions for a total of two fantasy points. That’s not enough to seriously consider adding him, but this situation is trending positively in the right direction, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.