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Dangerous Expectations: Bengals Offense May Finally Have Room To Explode

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It's true. Even though Cincinnati's offense ranks inside the top ten in the NFL, they really haven't been explosive. Heck, many are disappointed that their expectations have thus far been so demoralized. Not only should they record over 500 yards against reliably stalwart defenses like the Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals offense has so much potential that they could single-handedly complete the Banks project, successfully wipe out poverty in the United States and help create nearly 14 million jobs in the state of Ohio alone.

But the Patriots defense played prevent defense, so the concept that Cincinnati's offense was a success is a bit saturated. There's a multitude of things that went wrong against the Patriots; most notably the lack of aggression, finding themselves in the uncompromising position of realizing, "holy crap, the season started 20 minutes ago?!" Once the offense started moving the ball, they did it well. True, we've said for the past week that New England ran a prevent-style defense; after watching the Patriots give up three touchdowns to Mark Sanchez, I'm not absolutely sure of that anymore. Still. While the offense ranks in the top ten in the NFL, one expectation is that the offense isn't terribly explosive as we thought they would. Cincinnati has five passing plays of 20 yards or more, which ranks 17th in the NFL. The team's rushing offense, waiting for their chance to get rolling, is sitting atop of a 13-yard run that's the team's longest run this season; only two teams have a shorter long run of the season. Then again, expectations are a dangerous thing, because that only invites a one-sided point of view on things (yours) without adapting to the realties of what's actually happening. But we'd be liars if we didn't have them. We're sports fans.

All that background noise being said, we'd be foolish to be critical of the team's offense at this point. For starters, Cincinnati had about as rough as a two-game schedule could possibly be starting the season.

“It’s hard to assess how close we are playing against a Baltimore defense,” Ochocinco said. “It’s always difficult so it’s tough to be as explosive as you want to be but I think we’ll be fine… With our offense and what we do in division games it makes it extremely difficult to be as free as we’d like to be offensively.”

With Baltimore and New England in the rear view mirror, the Bengals schedule lightens up considerably. After the Panthers this weekend, the Bengals will play the Browns in Cleveland and host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before entering their week six bye week. This will be a good sample of where our offense when you take the product of the six-game season as a whole. That being said, Chad believes that for the team's offense to really explode, the man to get it ignited isn't so much Carson Palmer, rather Cedric Benson.

“It’s always refreshing to go to a team that doesn’t see you all of the time and is not familiar with what you do offensively,” said Ochocinco. ”So I’m looking forward to playing this week for us. I really want to get the running game going and get Ced (Benson) going for us. The running game opens up the passing game and I think that’s where our success will come from.”