Bengals Defense Should Be Able to Pressure Rams Quarterback

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 27: Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates a sack of Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Browns 23-20. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

The Bengals are tied with the Texans and Giants as the sixth best defense when it comes to sacking the opposing quarterback. After 14 weeks, the Bengals defense, has racked up 36 quarterback sacks. They're led by defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who has sacked opposing quarterbacks seven times this season. He's followed by Michael Johnson (five), Frostee Rucker (four), Chris Crocker (3.5) and Robert Geathers, Jonathan Fanene and Carlos Dunlap (each have three).

They defense is currently on pace to finish the season with 44 sacks, which would be the most by a Bengals defense in Marvin Lewis' nine-year tenure as head coach and they're already two sacks ahead of where they were in 2009 when the defense finished the season with a top-five defense.

On Sunday, the Bengals travel to St. Louis to face the Rams, who have given up a league high 46 quarterback sacks.

It's currently unclear as to which quarterback the Bengals will face on Sunday but whoever it is, the Bengals should be able to have them running for their lives throughout the entire game. Not only has Geno Atkins been great at applying pressure on the quarterback from the middle of the line, but it seems that this may be the first week that Carlos Dunlap plays since injuring his hamstring during his second sack of Matt Hasselbeck while playing the Titans in Week 9.

With Michael Johnson and Dunlap (if Dunlap does play on Sunday) on either side of the defensive line and Geno Atkins in the middle, the Bengals should be able to make a big step in having the most quarterback sacks since 2001, when the Bengals defense, led by Reinard Wilson and Justin Smith's combined 17.5 sacks, was able to rack up 48 sacks.

Of course right now the biggest offense threat for the Rams is Steven Jackson, but if the Bengals can get a big enough lead over the Rams that they have to turn to the pass, the Bengals should be able to terrorize whichever quarterback is holding the ball in the pocket.

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