Cincinnati is on a two game losing streak and the Rams and all of their current issues are on the way to Cincinnati to hopefully correct that downward path. The Bengals are clearly the better team on paper and carry an 8.5 point favorite in the the eyes of the oddsmakers. So what does Cincinnati need to do to win this game?
Ok, Cincinnati could probably turn the ball over and still win. But, for an upset to happen for the Rams, they would need to be opportunistic on the chances the Bengals would give them. Turning the ball over in bad field position gives the Rams' struggling offense short fields to try and score. Usually when upsets happen, it is because there are bad turnovers.
Play to your ability
We watched in the loss to the Texans (and even in the Cardinals game to some extent) players making mistakes that they don't typically make. Is it coincidence that the usually rock solid Andrew Whitworth struggled these past few weeks and the Bengals lost? In no way am I pinning the loss on 71, but when you combine that with penalties, drops and turnovers, the table is set for a loss.
Don't get overly creative on offense. Play to your strengths, score when you have the opportunity and get back in control of your season.
Stop Todd Gurley
With the passing game for St. Louis largely being ineffective, the Bengals will need to contain running back Todd Gurley. This is easier said than done. Gurley is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal Rams offense. He is exciting to watch and can make things happen when he has the ball. The Ravens were able to contain him last week and they took a win from the Rams even with a decimated roster.
Run the Ball
The Rams actually have a decent pass defense and have only allowed nine touchdowns through the air this season. When an offense struggles like the Rams offense has, usually the defense has terrible stat sheets due to being on the field so often. To only have allowed nine scores in the passing game, the Rams' pass defense must be legit.
The Bengals can control the pace of the game, wear out the defense and move the ball all on the ground. This could be a week where we see real numbers from Jeremy Hill. There was a small glimpse of the "old" Hill last week, early in the game. Maybe a visit from a defense susceptible to the run is what the doctor ordered for the struggling Hill. Giovani Bernard, you keep doing you.
Decimated is a good word to describe the Bengals' secondary last weekend against the Cardinals. Player after player went down due to injury. The Bengals are in a run that is going to decide where they camp for the first game this postseason. We hope it is at home watching the first round of the playoffs scouting their potential foe. In order to change their stars in postseason success, the Bengals need to have their full roster healthy. A major key to this game is to come out unscathed.
What are your keys for the game on Sunday? Leave your comments below and we'll revisit next week when celebrating the Bengals' win.