NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 23: Brian Cushing #56 and Danieal Manning #38 of the Houston Texans bring down Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field on October 23, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
5. Continuing Successful Third Down Conversions... Cincinnati's two-game losing streak earlier this season was in large part due to Cincinnati's inability to convert third downs. Against the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, the Bengals converted only two of 21 third down opportunities.
During their four-game winning streak that could be extended this weekend, the Bengals have converted 43.4% of their third downs, sustaining drives that's putting them in a position to average 28.5 points during their winning streak.
4. Prevent Big Passes By Matt Hasselbeck... Though the Bengals front four will do their job pressuring the quarterback, the secondary can't have a repeat performance after allowing 375 yards passing last week to Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst.
In the six games preceding their 34-12 win over the Seahawks, the Bengals were allowing an average 189 yards passing. Though Seattle's passing game didn't hurt the Bengals in the grande scheme of things, a better team like Tennessee could post greater problems.
3. Caldwell And Simpson Need To Take Pressure Off A.J. Green... If we learned anything last weekend against the Seattle Seahawks, Green is becoming the focal point in defensive strategies against the Bengals offense. And though he posted a 101-yard game against the Indianapolis Colts, Simpson has only caught 11 passes of 18 passes thrown his way. He's failed to reach more than 50 yards twice this season and during both of those games, he posted over 100 yards receiving.
Additionally Andre Caldwell, largely the team's third wide receiver in three-wide formations, has posted 93 yards receiving in the past four games. With defenses focusing more on Green and Jermaine Gresham likely missing his second game, Simpson and Caldwell need to become more of a consistent factor.
2. Cedric Benson Needs To Step Up... Benson has had a decent career with the Cincinnati Bengals, mostly used as to milk the clock late in games, largely ineffective in the first half. Rested after two weeks (bye and one-game suspension), Benson will square off against the league's 27th ranked rushing defense.
With as much as he's talked in the past two seasons about his role in the offense, it's time for him to put up or shut up.
1. Contain Chris Johnson... The Cincinnati Bengals have done a good job containing the league's best running backs, holding Frank Gore, Fred Jackson and Maurice Jones-Drew under 100 yards rushing this season. The league's second ranked rushing defense will square off against Tennessee's Chris Johnson, who posted 3,370 yards rushing in his past two seasons before the 2011 regular season. This year. Johnson has a 2.8 yard/rush average and only two games with over 50 yards rushing.
It doesn't mean that the Bengals rush defense can take the afternoon off; Johnson is the type of back that could explode for a huge run at any point during the game from any spot on the field.