The Cincinnati Bengals look to bounce back after a disappointing Week 1 outing in Cleveland. What do they need to do to prevent falling to the second divisional foe in as many weeks?
Run the Ball
It may have gotten lost in the kerfuffle of a terrible Week 1 offensive performance, but the Bengals actually looked pretty good running the ball against the Browns. They were particularly successful running north and south between the tackles. Although we all expect Joe Burrow to bounce back quickly, committing to the run game would take a lot of pressure off of him.
Whether it was zone or duo, Joe Mixon looked good, but two things were missing that we saw in the preseason. The first was the GF Counter, where the guard pulls out the defensive end, and the h-back leads up on the linebacker. The second was Chase Brown. He needs to be active, and we need to see a dash of Chase mixed in with Mixon. Both are effective downhill runners. Chase is also this team’s best short-yardage option, and it would have come in handy to have him out there last week.
Burrow is coming off his worst career game, and he didn’t get much help from his receivers in the dismal offensive performance. Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Irv Smith need to step up and be the playmakers we all know they are.
The Ravens have a new offensive coordinator and a new offensive system. I’m not particularly a fan of either, but there is danger in the avant-garde. Just think about how this defense has fared against backup quarterbacks.
Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will need to develop a game plan off of basically one film. He can and certainly has gone back and broken down film of Todd Monken’s previous offenses, but there will still be a lot of questions about how his offense will be implemented on Sunday.
The good news is that the new Ravens offense does not seem to have the same emphasis on the quarterback run game. Although the Bengals have been able to keep Lamar Jackson in check in recent years, they struggled mightily when Deshaun Watson ran the ball a week ago. That cannot happen against the Ravens.