This Week VS Last Week

Last Week (more like yesterday) the Bengals hosted the Steelers on Monday Night Football. They opened the game with a fumble on the kickoff return and then got a punt blocked on the following drive. Basically the Bengals spotted one of the best teams in football ten points and when a team does that, they usually don't win. Even though the Bengals showed some fourth quarter heroics, it wasn't enough. The Steelers were the fifth team in a row to beat the Bengals by a score of 27-21.

This Week the Bengals travel to play the closest geographical team in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts who are coming off a tough loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and are looking to rebound against the now 2-6 Bengals. The Colts, a perennial playoff contender, are looking to push through their remaining eight games to compete for home field advantage in the playoffs with the Steelers, Ravens, Jets and Patriots.

How do the Colts match up against the Bengals compared to how the Steelers did? Let's find out.

Peyton Manning VS Ben Roethlisberger:

While Roethlisberger was making a name for himself in the college bars of Georgia this off season, Peyton Manning was probably helping somebody somewhere. On top of being one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and shoo-in hall of famer, Manning is also probably one of the coolest guys in the NFL. I don't know him personally but I can tell by all of his commercials. Roethlisberger may have one more ring than Manning but anybody who knows football knows that Manning always wins the "who's a better quarterback" argument. That's why...

Winner: Peyton Manning

What the Bengals need to do:

The Bengals defense needs to go down the street to crazy old Doc Brown's place, convince him to let them borrow the DeLorean, squeeze all 11 guys in it without messing up the flux capacitor, bust that baby up to 88 miles per hour and go back in time one year. When they get there, they need to watch themselves play defense they way they did last season, take some notes and play that way again. I guess an easier way to do this would be for them to watch film of last years games but that wouldn't be nearly as exciting as going back in time.

Colts Running Game VS Steelers Running Game:

Since the Bengals defense has been making every running back look great this year, it's always a little tough to tell who the truly great ones are and who just ran through the Bengals front four. The Colts backfield has been riddled with injuries to the point that they've had to use Joseph Addai, Donald Brown and Mike Hart extensively. Meanwhile, the Steelers have relied on Rashard Mendenhall to get things done and get things done he has.

Winner: Steelers Running Game

What the Bengals need to do:

See Above.

Colts Receivers VS Steelers Receivers:

Reggie Wayne is a constant threat when he's on a football field and Pierre Garcon is just as talented. Even the loss of all-pro tight end Dallas Clark hasn't phased the Colts much as backup Jacob Tamme has filled Clark's shoes very well. Either way, when Peyton Manning is doing the passing, it's hard to look bad as a receiver. Hines Ward may be one of the most reliable wide receivers in the league but he's not Reggie Wayne and he doesn't have Manning at quarterback.

Winner: Colts Receivers

What the Bengals need to do:

Once again, see above.

Colts Defense VS Steelers Defense:

This is the Achilles Heal of the Indianapolis Colts. Everybody knows the Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the best, if not the best defenses in the NFL just like everybody knows that the Colts beat teams with their offense and not their defense. One of the biggest weapons the Colts do have on defense is their defensive end tandem of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The Bengals offensive line are going to have their hands full.

Winner: Steelers Defense

What the Bengals need to do:

First and foremost, the Bengals are going to need to find a way to keep Carson Palmer on his feet. There are very few defensive ends that are better at getting to the quarterback than Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis is better than most. Andrew Whitworth will be lined up against Freeney and while I'm confident in his ability to do a fairly decent job blocking the pro-bowler, I'm not so confident in Andre Smith's ability to block Mathis. The Bengals may need to resort to quick, three-step-drop passes to keep Palmer on his feel and get the ball out of his hands fast. They should also rely more heavily on Cedric Benson and the running game against the Colts who have shown that they can have a hard time stopping it sometimes.

In summation, the Bengals defense needs to take a trip back in time for the week and figure out what they're doing differently from last season to this season before they take on the best quarterback in the league and the offensive line needs to block two of the best pass rushing defensive ends in the NFL. I'm not saying they can't do it because I know that they can. The question is, do they know they can?

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