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Five By Five: Storylines Heading Into Week Nine Against The Denver Broncos

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The Cincinnati Bengals are back and everyone, including us as loyal passionate fans, are refreshed.

BYE WEEK IMPACT

After returning from a much-needed four-day weekend, how will the Bengals respond to their current three-game losing streak? Offensively this team has been marred with inconsistency, especially failing to sustain possessions

Momentarily stabilizing against the Jaguars and Dolphins, Cincinnati's defense has allowed 27 points in consecutive weeks against the Browns and Steelers; the Bengals allowed 34 against Cleveland, but one touchdown was an Andy Dalton pick-six. And the last time we watched Cincinnati's defense, they allowed Pittsburgh, the league's top third-down offense, to convert 62.5 percent on their way to generating 431 yards of total offense and a time of possession of nearly 38 minutes.

We're not going to say that everyone needs to get their act together, but damn.

DRE KIRKPATRICK'S DEBUT

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis repeatedly told reporters recently that first-round cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick could make his NFL debut on the backside of the Oct. 28 Bye Week. Guess what. This is the first week following the Oct. 28 Bye Week.

In case you've been out of the loop -- or hatin' on us for changing the look of our website -- let's recap. Kirkpatrick suffered a "Non-Football Injury" before training camp, keeping him out of practice until midway through preseason. As he began practicing, he had a didn't-have-setback setback, preventing him from practicing until a few weeks ago.

Now as a daily full participant, conditioning and applying the playbook that he studied, there's a good chance he makes his debut this weekend.

STARTING CENTER UP IN THE AIR

Jeff Faine watched from the sidelines during Monday's workout after suffering a hamstring injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week Seven. Starting center Kyle Cook remains an uncertainty, leaving rookie Trevor Robinson as a possible starting center against the Broncos this weekend.

The week will dictate who plays, based on Faine's participation during practice this week. If the team is forced to start Robinson, that means two rookies and a second-year player will start in the interior offensive line.

THE UNDENIABLE PAT SIMS AFFECT

Bengals defensive tackle Pat Sims hurt both ankles last year, the second of which he suffered during a practice that forced him on injured reserve. Yet it's a hamstring that's kept him off the field since the start of training camp. Due to NFL rules, one week remains for Sims to participate in his first practice before he's forced to remain on PUP for the remainder of the season.

Though we're not making a direct comparison, we're certainly making an indirect one.

Since 2011 With Sims Without Sims
Games 10 14
Yards Rushing Allowed 886 1,845
Avg. Yards Rushing Allowed (Game) 88.6 131.8
Avg. Yards Rushing Allowed (Carry) 3.4 4.6

WILL THE BENGALS SELLOUT

For the love of God. Heading into Tuesday the Cincinnati Bengals have yet to declare Sunday's game sold out against the Denver Broncos this Sunday. Every indication seems to hint that at worst, the team will require an extension to sellout.