Bengals fans should have been hoping for an overall refocus from the team during their bye week. They let a handful of winnable games slip through their grasp and are now tasked with making up some ground during a more difficult part of their 2012 schedule. Part of that refocus has to be to get the running game back on track to balance out their offensive attack and take some of the pressure off of second-year quarterback Andy Dalton.
You can probably file this one under "no duh", but hear me out: the Bengals will need to effectively run the football to win the game against the Broncos on Sunday. Obviously, when a team can run the ball well, they control the clock and the game. When a team can achieve that, a victory is almost always ensured.
There are two main reasons for this--the first was what I mentioned above. Dalton has had the task of taking the offense on his shoulders almost every game and it has led to mixed results. While he is on pace to shatter his statistical numbers from last season, some of those numbers unfortunately include interceptions. However, it's hard not to acknowledge what Dalton has been able to do without a consistent running game in his year and a half as the Bengals' quarterback.
Aside from alleviating general pressure off of Dalton, there's another reason that the Bengals need to run the ball effectively--he goes by the name of Peyton Manning. Many teams and coaches have attempted to contain Manning (because you can't stop him) over the years to no avail. The handful of times that it has happened, it was when the opposing team was able to bring constant pressure, as well as keep Manning off of the field by owning the clock.
How do you "own the clock"? Well, sometimes the best defense is a good offense, as they say. By chewing clock and hogging the ball, the Bengals will manage to keep Manning off of the field. And by keeping him off of the field, it won't allow him to hurt the Bengals defense. If you think that any lead is safe against No.18, go ask Jon Gruden and/or Norv Turner and they'll tell you otherwise. Furthermore, the Bengals don't have the most stellar track record against Manning either (horrible, in fact), so they'll want to play keep away from him as much as possible.
If the Bengals win on Sunday, we hope and expect BenJarvus Green-Ellis and/or the offensive line to be the game's MVP(s). Cincinnati will have to execute a gameplan that so many other teams have failed at over the years against Manning in order to be victorious.