Bengals Early Bird Special

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns is tackled by defensive players of the Cincinnati Bengals during the season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Good morning everyone! It's almost time for the weekend! If you're stuck in a cubicle and reading this then keep telling yourself that you only have a few more hours to go until you're finally free from work, your boss, and those annoying co-workers that you "like."

It's official! Andy Dalton is slated to be the starting quarterback for Cincinnati on Sunday against the Broncos! Which means we actually have a legitimate chance of competing and even defeating the Broncos. When I found out Dalton was starting I felt relieved knowing Gradkowski wasn't starting. Not to knock on Bruce or anything, but I couldn't envision him leading us for four quarters. I know he has that veteran leadership quality going for him as well, but let's face it he's a back-up for a reason.

On Sunday I think it's vital that the Bengals offensive line does a better job at protecting Andy Dalton. Yes, Dalton was only sacked four times against the Browns, but on the last play of the game we all know he sustained an injury to his wrist. He's fortunate that he didn't suffer a broken bone. Also the more time Dalton has in the pocket, the better. At times he appeared to be hurrying his passes and his decision making skills seemed non-existent in those situations.

Another element that I believe is going to be vital for the Bengals is catching the ball. Yes, the Bengals made plenty of catches, but there were at least a handful of passes that should have been caught. The Bengals cannot solely relie on Benson and company to literally carry the team to victory. Let's be honest, we can't expect Benson to have the same performance against the Broncos that he had against the Browns.

If the defense can hold it's own against Denver as it did against Cleveland, then I believe the Bengals stand a chance to win. However, if the Bengals can't catch, Dalton makes poor decisions, or the defense completely flops then it's going to be a long game.

My prediction: Denver defeats Cincinnati 27-20. But in all honesty I wouldn't mind being wrong about the outcome.

Alright here is a look at what you may have missed or overlooked from Thursday.

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