The Bengals face off against the Indianapolis Colts for the 19th time in the last 20 years tonight in Paul Brown Stadium for the team's last 2011 preseason game. The Bengals lead the preseason series 13-6 and have won the last seven games.
Here are some match ups to watch for when the Bengals take the field at 7 p.m. in Cincinnati. This one is.....
Bengals Running Game Vs. Colts Front Seven
The Bengals have an offensive line built for running the ball. The line built between Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith is powerful enough to allow Cedric Benson to burst through the line and into the defensive backfield. However, tonight we won't be seeing any of Cedric Benson because he's busy (insert random prison joke here). Instead, we'll see the much quicker Bernard Scott in the backfield along with third-down back Brian Leonard.
The Colts haven't had a top-15 defense against the run since 2007 when they were ranked at No. 15. Since then they have been ranked at 24th (2008, 2009) and 25th (2010) against the run. They drafted defensive tackle Drake Nevis out of LSU in the third round of the 2011 draft with hopes that he can bolster the Colts run defense but even though he has looked impressive, he's second on the depth chart behind Fili Moala.
At the linebacker position, the Colts have 2010 seventh-round pick Kavell Conner at one outside linebacker position and 2010 second-round pick Pat Angerer at the other outside position. In between them, the Colts have Gary Bracket, who is entering his ninth year. While they have some talent at the position, none of their starting linebackers led the team in tackling. Free safety Antoine Bethea did. When it comes to stopping the run, that's not a very good sign.
The strength of the Colts has long been the offense's ability to outscore their opponents with Peyton Manning at the helm. He's still recovering from offseason neck surgery and will not by playing tonight so the Colts won't be able to force teams to play catch-up by scoring every time they touch the ball.
I fully expect the Bengals to run wild on the Colts tonight, even without Benson, and once the Colts begin to put extra men in the box to try to stop them, I expect to see Jay Gruden use Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson to make them pay.