Good morning Bengals Nation. I hope you all had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving that was filled with lots and lots of food, family time, and football. With the amount of food I ate between two Thanksgiving dinners, I was ready to pass out before the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Baltimore Raven, well before that game ended. So much food, but I wouldn't have asked for it any other way. Good food, great family time, and some interesting football.
Alright Sunday is slowly, but surely approaching and what does that mean? It means football and more specifically Bengals football. The Cleveland Browns will be in town for the final game in the Battle of Ohio. Cincinnati took the first game by a score of 27-17. The Bengals capped off their comeback victory when Cedric Benson dashed for a 39-yard touchdown untouched in the fourth quarter.
The Bengals hunt for a playoff berth may very well hinge on this game. Some might not think it's that important, however the Bengals have lost back to back games and the Browns are a team the Bengals SHOULD beat. And when comparing the 2011 Bengals to the previous two Bengals playoff teams, it's easy to recognize that this group is the most balanced group despite having only played 10 games up to this point. The 2011 Bengals haven't been a one-sided team that relies solely on the running or passing attack, or the defense unlike previous teams. This season the Bengals have been able to stop opposing offenses and through a mixture of running and passing have been able to put up points on the board.
And one key has been rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. Without him the Bengals wouldn't be in this position. Here's a little fun fact for everyone. Dalton has a higher passer rating than some of the biggest names (Philip Rivers and Mark Sanchez are just two of the names), in the game at the halfway point this season. Dalton can thank his front line for giving him time to target his receivers. Without the time to make a decent decision Dalton probably would rush his throws or make poor decisions that wind up being costly. But that's not the case.
On Sunday the Bengals are going to need both defensive end Carlos Dunlap and wide receiver A.J. Green in the game. And as of Thanksgiving Thursday Green was a full go during practice while Dunlap sat out.
Dunlap has been one of the biggest enforcers on defense. Without the pressure he presents to opposing quarterbacks, the Bengals defense would be in worse shape. He is going to be one of the core players for the Bengals defense for years to come. And as for Green, well I don't really need to explain that one. He has been downright amazing with the jaw-dropping catches he's been making. Let's not forget he's only rookie and he's playing like an eight-year veteran.
And for everyone who is tired of the Bengals home games resulting in blackouts, well you're not alone. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is asking the FCC to end NFL blackouts. If blackouts are banned then it will be a great day to celebrate. Imagine not having to sit in front of your computer and watch some streamed or game cast version. One can dream, right?