Bengals Early Bird Special

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks for a receiver during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Good morning everyone! It's Friday and you know what that means>? The work week is finally coming to an end and there's going to football on Sunday! So fire up your grill, grab yourself a case of beer....or eight cases, and prepare to watch, I mean listen to the Bengals take on the San Francisco 49ers.

Here are some of my keys for Sunday's match-up.

  1. The Bengals have to figure out a way to move the ball. Yes, Andy Dalton had a breakout game against the Broncos. And yes he hasn't looked like a rookie on the field. But I don't expect him to put up the same gaudy numbers that he racked up against the Broncos. Especially with the Bengals being short-handed at wide receiver with Shipley out for the season and Simpson undoubtedly out of action for Sunday. That leaves two or three viable targets for him in A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, and Andre Caldwell. I see Dalton playing well, but not like he did against Denver. The Bengals may have to rely more on the running game this Sunday. And if they can mix up the play-calling and are able to march down field, then I think the Bengals will put up some points. Also they must convert on third downs. Last week the Bengals were 1-11 on third downs. That cannot happen this week. If the Bengals intend to win their home opener then they have to convert on third downs. If they don't convert then they are undoubtedly having a difficult time moving the ball. 
  2. Staying healthy is always going to be a key factor in the outcome. First game of the season Dalton left after the first half, and last week Shipley tore his ACL. This week if the Bengals lose a wide receiver then they will be left scrambling. Or if they lose an impact player then they are going to be left short-handed.
  3. And finally don't call for a play action on a fourth and one situation! Either go for the field goal (if you're in range), give the ball to Brian Leonard, or do a short, quick pass to someone to the outside. I thought the play action call was absolutely horrendous. 

Prediction for Sunday: The Bengals defeat the 49ers 24-21. 

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

 

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