[Bengals Season Preview] Previewing Weeks 10-13

After winning the division title for the second time in five years in 2009, the Bengals drew a schedule that is considered one of the toughest in the league. Their ability to repeat as division champions will be tested every game with each opponent looking to hang a loss on a respected team. So when you start breaking down the season into four game segments, you being to see parts that could prove either beneficial or detrimental based on the opponent. The third quarter of the season could make the season or break our hearts. 

In this four game segment, the Bengals face teams that went deep into the playoffs last season with two of them meeting each other in the Super Bowl; their combined record was 42-20 -- a.667 winning percentage. It starts with the AFC Champion Colts in Indianapolis, followed by the Bills at home, and then off to New York to face the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets on Thanksgiving Night. If you think the schedule gets easier after the Jets game, they face Super Bowl Champ New Orleans at Paul Brown Stadium to round out this quarter post. This could arguably be the toughest part of the season.

Week 10: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium
Sunday November 14

Indianapolis 2009 Record: 14-2, lost in Super Bowl
2009 Road Record: 7-1
2009 Home Record: 7-1
Head to Head against the Bengals: 15-8

Key Acquisitions: Adam Terry, Alleman
Key Losses: Freddie Keiaho, Aaron Francisco, Chad Simpson, Tim Jennings, Hank Baskett, Marlin Jackson, Ryan Lilja, Jim Sorgi

Indianapolis 2010 Draft Picks: Rd 1, (31)  Hughes, Jerry DE, Texas Christian University; Rd 2, (63) Angerer, Pat LB, Iowa; Rd 3, (94) Thomas, Kevin CB, Southern Cal; Rd 4, (129) McClendon, Jacques OG, Tennessee; Rd 5, (162) Eldridge, Brody TE, Oklahoma; Rd 7, (238) Mathews, Ricardo DT, Cincinnati; Rd 7,(240) Conner, Kavell LB, Clemson; Rd 7, (246) Fisher, Ray DB Indiana.

Offense (2009) Bengals Colts
Total 309.1 (24th) 363.1 (9th)
Scoring 19.1 (22nd) 26.0 (7th)
Third Downs 41% (12th) 49% (1st)
Passing 180.6 (26th) 282.2 (2nd)
Passing TD's 21 (16th) 34 (t-1st)
Rushing 128.5 (9th) 80.9 (32nd)
Rushing TD's 9 (t-22nd) 16 (t-12th)
Sacks Allowed 29 (9th) 13 (1st)
20-yard Passes 36 (26th) 62 (t-5th)
Defense (2009)

Bengals

Colts

Total 301.4  (4th) 339.2 (18th)
Scoring 18.2 (6th) 19.2 (8th)
3rd Downs Allowed 39% (16th) 45% (31st)
Passing 203.1 (6th) 212.7 (14th)
Passing TDs 18 (8th) 19 (t-10th)
Rushing 98.3 (7th) 126.5 (24th)
Rushing TDs 12 (14th) 10 (t-7th)
Sacks 34 (t-16th) 34 (t-16th)
QB Rating 73.6 (7th) 80.6 (12th)
20-Yard Passes Allowed 41 (9th) 27 (1st)
Interceptions 19 (t-9th) 16 (15th)

The Game: The Colts are coming into the season with a Super Bowl hangover after losing to New Orleans. This may not bode well as recent history shows the losing team has difficulty making the playoffs the following season. However, the Colts - having made the playoffs seven straight seasons - would make one think they may be the exception. Coupled with a high flying offense and quick defense, the likelihood of another playoff appearance could be realized. The Bengals have had trouble with the Colts recently losing the previous six meetings including a high scoring affair in 2005. The Bengals last victory against the Colts came in 1997, the final season without Peyton Manning. This game could feature two teams possessing high-powered offenses and stalwart defenses as the Bengals have added offensive help and Colts look to strengthen their defense. Heading into this game, if both teams are having their way with their opponents, this could cause CBS to change the start time to 4:15. And if both teams are playing up to expectations, this game could be one that no one will want to miss.

Week 11: Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
Sunday, November 21

Buffalo 2009 Record: 6-10, 4th AFC East
2009 Road Record: 3-5
2009 Home Record: 3-5
Head to Head against the Bengals: 14-9

Key Acquisitions: Dwan Edwards, Andra Davis, Reggie Torbor, Cornell Green
Key Loss: Terrell Owens, Josh Reed, LB Chris Draft, OL Kendall Simmons, OL Rich Incognito, DE Ryan Denney

Buffalo 2010 Draft Picks: Rd 1, (9) Spiller, C.J. RB, Clemson; Rd 2, (41) Troup, Torell DT, Central Florida; Rd 3, (72) Carrington, Alex DE, Arkansas State; Rd 4, (107) Easley, Marcus WR, Connecticut; Rd 5, (140) Wang, Ed OT, Virginia Tech; Rd 6, (178) Moats, Arthur DE, James Madison; Rd 6, (192) Batten, Danny DE, South Dakota State; Rd 7, (209) Brown, Levi QB, Troy; Rd 7, (216) Calloway, Kyle OT, Iowa.

Offense (2009) Bengals Bills
Total 309.1 (24th) 273.9 (30th)
Scoring 19.1 (22nd) 16.0 (28th)
Third Downs 41% (12th) 26% (32nd)
Passing 180.6 (26th) 157.2 (30th)
Passing TD's 21 (16th) 17 (23rd)
Rushing 128.5 (9th) 116 (16th)
Rushing TD's 9 (t-22nd) 6 (29th)
Sacks Allowed 29 (9th) 46 (28th)
20-yard Passes 36 (26th) 31 (29th)
Defense (2009)

Bengals

Bills

Total 301.4  (4th) 340.6 (19th)
Scoring 18.2 (6th) 20.4 (16th)
3rd Downs Allowed 39% (16th) 40% (24th)
Passing 203.1 (6th) 184.2 (2nd)
Passing TDs 18 (8th) 14 (t-2nd)
Rushing 98.3 (7th) 156.3 (30th)
Rushing TDs 12 (14th) 19 (t-28th)
Sacks 34 (t-16th) 32 (t-18th)
QB Rating 73.6 (7th) 61.1 (2nd)
20-Yard Passes Allowed 41 (9th) 34 (t-3rd)
Interceptions 19 (t-9th) 28 (2nd)

On paper, this looks to be a shoe in. Just wrap it up and mail it to the "W" column. That's on paper. The Bills have been a non-factor in the league for several years and this season may not be any different. Funny thing, though. The Bengals have not beaten the Bills since the 1988 AFC Championship game.  The last regular season victory against Buffalo came that same season. Since then, they have faced each other nine times with the Bills victorious in each. This streak also includes a loss during the 2005 season, the Bengals first playoff appearance since, well, forever. The Bills are coming into the season in flux and turmoil. The Bills coaching carousel continued as Dick Jauron was fired after three seasons and replaced by offensive guru Chan Gaily, who hasn't been a head coach in the NFL since 1999. The Bills have a tough road ahead and may view this season as a rebuilding year then one with playoff hopes.

Week 12: Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets
Meadowlands Stadium
Thursday, November 25th

New York Jets 2009 Record: 9-7, 2nd AFC East
2009 Road Record: 5-3
2009 Home Record: 4-4
Head to Head against the Bengals: 13-7

Key Acquisitions: Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brodney Pool, Santonio Holmes, Jason Taylor
Key Loss: Alan Faneca, Thomas Jones, Lito Sheppard, Kerry Rhodes

New York Jets 2010 Draft Picks: Rd 1, (29) Wilson, Kyle CB, Boise State; Rd 2, (61) Ducasse, Vlad OT, Massachusetts; Rd 4, (112) McKnight, Joe RB, Southern Cal; Rd 5, (139) Conner, John RB, Kentucky

Offense (2009) Bengals Jets
Total 309.1 (24th) 321.0 (20th)
Scoring 19.1 (22nd) 21.8 (17th)
Third Downs 41% (12th) 37% (20th)
Passing 180.6 (26th) 148.8 (31st)
Passing TD's 21 (16th) 12 (29th)
Rushing 128.5 (9th) 172.2 (1st)
Rushing TD's 9 (t-22nd) 21 (3rd)
Sacks Allowed 29 (9th) 30 (11th)
20-yard Passes 36 (26th) 37 (25th)
Defense (2009)

Bengals

Jets

Total 301.4  (4th) 252.3 (1st)
Scoring 18.2 (6th) 14.8 (1st)
3rd Downs Allowed 39% (16th) 32% (1st)
Passing 203.1 (6th) 153.7 (1st)
Passing TDs 18 (8th) 8 (1st)
Rushing 98.3 (7th) 98.6 (8th)
Rushing TDs 12 (14th) 11 (t-11th)
Sacks 34 (t-16th) 32 (t-18th)
QB Rating 73.6 (7th) 58.8 (1st)
20-Yard Passes Allowed 41 (9th) 31 (2nd)
Interceptions 19 (t-9th) 17 (t-13th)

I would bet on the schedule in the Bengals locker room this game has a big circle around it, if not for the fact it will be the Bengals first appearance on Thanksgiving, but they will be looking avenge back-to-back losses to the Jets at the end of last season. Coming into this game, which will be broadcasted on the NFL Network, the Bengals have to be thinking about sending the message that those losses were a fluke. The sooth sayers and prognosticators have already anointed the Jets as the team to beat in the AFC, which could make this game an AFC playoff preview. The Jets have made several additions that look to make them formidable. We know that it may not always be the case. The Bengals have not had recent success against the Jets losing eight of the previous nine meetings including last season. The lone Bengals victory came in 2007, prior to that, 1990. The Bengals love the primetime lights and may the New Meadowlands lights shine brightly on them this game. 

Week 13: New Orleans Saints at Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
Sunday, December 5

New Orleans 2009 Record: 13-3, 1st NFC South
2009 Road Record: 7-1
2009 Home Record: 6-2
Head to Head against the Bengals: 5-6

Key Acquisitions: Alex Brown, Jimmy Wilkerson, Terrence Metcalf
Key Loss: Paul Spicer, Charles Grant, Scott Fujita, Billy Miller

New Orleans 2010 Draft Picks: Rd 1, (32) Robinson, Patrick CB, Florida State; Rd 2, (64) Brown, Charles OT, Southern Cal; Rd 3, (95) Graham, Jimmy TE, Miami; Rd 4, (123) Woods, Al DT, LSU; Rd 5, (158) Tennant, Matt C, Boston College; Rd 7, (239) Canfield, Sean QB, Oregon State.

Offense (2009) Bengals Saints
Total 309.1 (24th) 403.8 (1st)
Scoring 19.1 (22nd) 31.9 (1st)
Third Downs 41% (12th) 45% (6th)
Passing 180.6 (26th) 272.2 (4th)
Passing TD's 21 (16th) 34 (1st)
Rushing 128.5 (9th) 131.6 (6th)
Rushing TD's 9 (t-22nd) 21 (3rd)
Sacks Allowed 29 (9th) 20 (4th)
20-yard Passes 36 (26th) 58 (8th)
Defense (2009)

Bengals

Saints

Total 301.4  (4th) 357.8 (25th)
Scoring 18.2 (6th) 21.3 (20th)
3rd Downs Allowed 39% (16th) 38 (14th)
Passing 203.1 (6th) 235.6 (26th)
Passing TDs 18 (8th) 15 (5th)
Rushing 98.3 (7th) 122.2 (21st)
Rushing TDs 12 (14th) 19 (t-28th)
Sacks 34 (t-16th) 35 (t-13th)
QB Rating 73.6 (7th) 68.6 (3rd)
20-Yard Passes Allowed 41 (9th) 48 (t-19th)
Interceptions 19 (t-9th) 26 (3rd)

I have a message for those Cowboy fans that may be reading this; STOP! You will not like what I am about to say: The Saints are America's Team! No other city deserves a champion as much as New Orleans. After hell visited in the form of Hurricane Katrina, there needed to be a ray of hope for Saints fans and the Lombardi Trophy is it. Oh, by the way, the Cowboys never were "America's Team". Coming fresh off their only Super Bowl appearance and victory, the Saints are looking to do something that is difficult in any sport, except the NBA, and that is to repeat. There is little to think it won't happen. A high powered offense led by Drew Brees coupled with a good defense should help them meet that lofty goal. However, there is a rivalry brewing between the Bengals and Saints, and it isn't on the field. It is over the "Who Dey" vs "Who Dat" chant. There is a thought that "Who Dat" was adopted by the Saints and Cincy copied it changing the verbiage to "Who Dey". The truth be told that Bengals players and fans started using "Who Dey" in 1980 while the Saints organization adopted "Who Dat" in 1983. So when watching the game, which is sure to be entertaining, don't confuse the chants since it is at Paul Brown Stadium and not in New Orleans. WHO DEY!

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