CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 01: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals hauls in the reception in front of Bernard Pollard #31 of the Baltimore Ravens during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 24-16. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Good morning Bengals Nation! It's finally Friday which means the work week is just about over. And let's be honest, who wants to work when there's football that needs to be watched? Granted the game doesn't start for another 32 hours, but that's not the point. Think of it as 32 hours to prep for it with you being stuck at work for part of it--the preliminary planning process for what beer you'll have, how much beer, who you invite over to watch the game, what food you'll have, and whatever else goes into your planning for gameday.
Alright so the Bengals will have their hands full with everything on the line for them on Saturday. If the Bengals want to prove that their season wasn't a fluke and that they're capable of beating a playoff team then they will have to come out firing on all cylinders. Cincinnati will have to come out fierce and ready to bury the Texans offensive attack. The Bengals defense will need guys like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap to be playing as if their job is on the line or something. As for the secondary, they will need to make sure they cover their assigned target. The Bengals will have to refrain from making any fatuous plays, cough cough blown coverage with the game on the line. There's no room for error and no one, except for anyone associated with the Texans, wants a repeat of the last match-up.
The Bengals defensive line will have their work cut out for them. They are going to have to put some pressure on T.J. Yates and clog any running holes that Arian Foster and Ben Tate are trying to explode through. One of the biggest concerns in my opinion is whether or not the Texans will utilize Andre Johnson against an inconsistent Bengals secondary. Johnson missed the game during the regular season due to injury. For years he has been one of the most underrated receivers in the game and the Bengals cannot lose sight of his presence. The Texans have weapons on offense and if Yates gets enough time in the pocket then he's capable of putting up some numbers. It's up to the Bengals defense to stop the Texans and guide the Bengals to a win.
Alright here is a look at what you may have missed or overlooked from Thursday.
- Listen to this week's podcast.
- Geno Atkins has been ranked as one of the NFL's top ten defensive players in the league.
- Even though the Bengals didn't defeat any team that made the playoffs, their losses haven't been as extreme as the media has portrayed it.
- Jay Gruden reportedly told the Jacksonville Jaguars that he was interested in their head coaching vacancy.
- Take a look at this week's mailbag.
- One player who will have to be a bigger factor on Saturday is A.J. Green. With question marks surrounding the rest of receiving group Green will have to have a flawless performance.
- One of the Bengals biggest struggles in the second half was their run defense. Unfortunately, the Texans are a team that run the ball, a lot.
- Good news Bengals fans, Andy Dalton returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday due to illness.