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Bengals are taking the Falcons very seriously

This is a matchup that could give Cincinnati problems.

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals and the Atlanta Falcons are both 3-3. The difference is, one is off to a disappointing start while the other is one of the best stories in the league so far.

The Falcons already have 991 yards on the ground, and they’re averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Like last year, the rushing attack is spearheaded by Cordarrelle Patterson. However, Atlanta has another three players with over 150 yards, one of them being journeyman quarterback Marcus Mariota, who’s having maybe his best season since 2016.

Meanwhile, the Bengals just gave up 228 yards and 6.7 yards per carry to the New Orleans Saints. The team is sorely missing the big presence of D.J. Reader in the middle.

All this may be why Joe Burrow was moved to say that the next three weeks will determine how the Bengals’ season goes. It seems to have been a message to the team that they need to maintain a high level of intensity against an opponent that, at the start of the season, wasn’t taken very seriously.

The star QB also had this to say about Atlanta’s defense:

“They like to mix up their coverages. They seem to have really good players who a lot of different things. So we’ll see what their plan is against us.”

One thing we can certainly expect is for the Bengals to operate out of shotgun often, like they did against the Saints. Not only did Burrow have his best game of the season, but the offensive line and Joe Mixon seem to have finally got on track. And being able to counter the Falcons’ ground game with a similarly successful one will be a big advantage.

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