Bengals need home games to recover momentum

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have already played six games on the road this year to a poor 2-4 record. The good news is that they'll play most of their remaining games at home, where they are undefeated this year.

The difference between home and away for the Bengals this year is astonishing. Cincinnati is an undefeated 4-0 at home this season, winning their games by an average 29-14 and a combined scoring differential of 51 points. But isn't that always the case? No, not for these Bengals. Heading into 2013, the Bengals were 8-8 at home dating back to 2011 with the superior 11-5 record away from Paul Brown Stadium (11-7 if you include the postseason). Now we've swapped places.

One of the bigger differences is the production of Andy Dalton, the overall defensive effort, and turnover differentials.

Dalton has completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 1,052 yards passing, eight touchdowns and only three picks for a passer rating of 100.5 at home. Even Cincinnati's turnover differential (+3) is prettier. Defensively, the Bengals have allowed only one of their four opponents to generate more than 300 yards of total offense.

Yet, on the road it's brutal. Even more daunting was the team's schedule after they secured a 13-6 win over the New England Patriots on October 13. During four of the next five games after the Patriots, the Bengals went into road-dog frenzy with games in Buffalo, Detroit, Miami and then Baltimore. It started strong with wins in Buffalo and Detroit but fizzled with overtime losses in Miami and Baltimore.

They went 2-2 (which is generally acceptable in NFL terms) during that five-game stretch, compiling a 2-4 overall record in other cities. On the road, the Bengals have a -7 in turnover differential. In six games away from Paul Brown Stadium, Dalton has completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 10 scores, 10 picks and a passer rating nearly 20 points lower (79.6) than what it is at home (100.5).

Andy Dalton split between home and the road -- numbers in parenthesis are averages.
HOME ROAD
Record 4-0 2-4
ATT 130 (32.5) 253 (42.2)
CMP 84 (21) 155 (25.8)
YDS 1,052 (263) 1,809 (301.5)
CMP% 64.6 61.3
AVG. 8.09 7.15
TD 8 (2) 10 (1.7)
INT 3 (0.75) 10 (1.7)
RATING 100.5 79.6

It's not just Dalton either. The defense clearly plays better at home. During their four-game win streak at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals defense averaged 291 yards allowed per game, a 4.5 yard/play average, 13.8 points per game, and 10 total turnovers. On the road (wins and losses), they're allowing 324 yards per game, a 4.8 yard/play average, 21.8 points per game with only six combined turnovers.

The good news?

Cincinnati will play four of their six games this season at Paul Brown Stadium. For the first time since beating the Jets on Oct. 27, the Bengals will play at home this Sunday, looking to record their sixth consecutive home win -- dating back to Cincinnati's 23-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Cincinnati has already beaten teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and New York Jets at home. Their remaining home schedule has Cleveland on Sunday, Indianapolis (Dec. 8), Minnesota (Dec. 22) and Baltimore (Dec. 29).

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