Cincinnati has the number one scoring defense in the NFL. Denver's defense allows the fewest yards to their opponents. On paper this looks like it could be a defensive battle. But, if you turn to the offensive stats, this is where the Bengals have a big edge.
The Bengals lead the Broncos in yards, passing yards, rushing yards, points and even third down percentage. This means that Cincinnati's offense should be able to score on this Broncos defense. So if the Bengals' defense plays to form, Cincinnati should have this game.
Those are the paper stats, what really matters is what happens on the field. What I want to see is a focused Cincinnati team looking to take the next step toward the postseason. What I don't want to see is the panic that sets in with this coaching staff when the Bengals are in their biggest games.
We have often seen this coaching staff play too conservatively or try and get too creative when on the big stage. The previous offensive coordinator actually game planned to limit getting A.J. Green the ball in a playoff game. Other times the Bengals abandon the run all together and allow the defense to sit back and anticipate the pass.
The Bengals should play the way they have all season. Outside of the Houston fluke, this team has been consistently good. The other two losses are to arguably some of the best teams in the NFL. I think Cincinnati takes this game and as fans, we'll be in the odd position of having two weeks of meaningless football as the Bengals rest their starters in Week 17 and watch from home during Wild Card weekend. Doesn't that sound pretty good?