CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 11: Marvin Lewis the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals gives instructions to his team during the NFL game against Houston Texans at Paul Brown Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Good morning Bengals Nation. It's Friday and that means it's almost the weekend. And if you're like me, then you're probably counting down the minutes until you're finally free from everything work related. Also if you're like me then you'll need a box of donuts and three cups of coffee to get started this morning. That's the breakfast of champions.
The Bengals have been on a slide lately losing four out of their past five games with their only win during that stretch coming against the Cleveland Browns. They have been outscored 130-90 during this slump. Three of the four losses have come against divisional foes Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Five weeks ago it appeared as if the Bengals were going to be playoff bound. But now it looks as if it will take a Hail Mary for them to make it.
If the Bengals are going to turn around their season then this is the time to do it against the 2-11 St. Louis Rams. The Rams entire season has been a slump unlike the Bengals who started the season with six wins in eight games. St. Louis has the worst run defense and the Bengals need to take full advantage of that. So that means Cedric Benson has to show up for the entire game not just the first half.
Also the Bengals defense needs to be able to limit the damage done by running back Steven Jackson. Last week against the Houston Texans the Bengals defense held Arian Foster and Ben Tate to a combined 108 yards on 23 carries. Granted that's an average of 4.7 yards per touch, but it's Foster and Tate, one of the most dynamic running tandems in the league. If teams can't stop them then watch out because the Texans will kill opponents with their ground attack. Alright back to Jackson. This season he's rushed for 895 yards and five touchdowns on 202 carries. For eight seasons Jackson has been one of the most explosive backs in the game and the Bengals cannot lose sight of that. It's vital that they don't allow him to reach triple digits on the ground.
This is a game that the Bengals should win and by a comfortable margin. A lot is on the line for the Bengals this Sunday. With a win they cling onto hope of a playoff berth. But with a loss they can pretty much look forward to next season and take the second half of the 2011 season as a learning experience.
Alright here is what you may have missed or overlooked from Thursday.
- Listen in on our weekly podcast.
- The injury and practice report for the Bengals and Rams. Andre Smith sat out practice while two key players returned for Cincinnati.
- On Sunday the Bengals will be going up against one of the weakest offenses in the league. And the Bengals defense should be able to put pressure on the Rams quarterback.
- With Bobbie Williams out for the season, Mike McGlynn will get the start for the Bengals at right guard on Sunday against St. Louis.
- Marvin Lewis recently talked about how much respect he has for Rams running back Steven Jackson and the 2004 draft where the Bengals traded picks with the Rams. We all know the rest. That was probably one of the worst moves made by the Bengals in the last ten years.
- Bengals rookie wide receiver A.J. Green has moved into third place in Pro Bowl voting. Keep up the solid work Green and this will be a yearly honor for you.