The Cincinnati Bengals offense is best described as Hue Jackson's mutilated version of the west coast that Jay Gruden introduced in 2011. Actually, Gruden brought a mutilated version of the west coast... so Jackson's offense is like a double-mutilated version of the west coast. In fact, the term "west coast" is a misleading description of a philosophy -- though provides an easy resolution (aka, quick pass, pass used for runs, timing, running backs) to an otherwise complicated proposition to name something within three words or less.
Part of Cincinnati's offense includes a renewed effort on the ground, led by the one-two punch of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Combined, they've rushed for 317 yards and scored five times. Projecting over a 16-game season, Bernard and Hill are on pace to generate 1,691 yards rushing and 27 rushing touchdowns.
That alone offers a moment of "wow" (despite Giovani Bernard's pedestrian 3.4 yard/rush average... or what BenJarvus Green-Ellis averaged in 2013).
Through three games this year, the Bengals rushing offense ranks 15th in the NFL. And through those three games, neither running back has reached the 100-yard rushing milestone. Here's a look at the team's top performances so far this season:
|Jeremy Hill||@ Ravens||9.7.2014||4||19||4.8||0|
Our second prediction of the game (behind Geno Atkins getting his first sack) is that Cincinnati will have a 100-yard rusher against the New England Patriots, who sports the league's 23rd-best rushing defense in the NFL.
Will it be Bernard or Hill? Our instinct points towards the rookie Hill, due to the fourth quarter requirement to play mop-up duty to achieve 100 yards rushing within a two-back system in the NFL. Maybe Bernard. Doesn't matter.
Cincinnati hasn't had a 100-yard rusher since Dec. 13, 2012 when BenJarvus Green-Ellis generated 106 yards rushing against the Philadelphia Eagles [Bernard posted 99 yards rushing against the Colts on Dec. 8, 2013]. That's a streak of 23 games (including the postseason) without a 100-yard rusher.
Part II of our prediction?
Cincinnati will generate 200 yards rushing.
They haven't done it yet this season.
In fact, the Bengals haven't reached the 200-yard rushing milestone since defeating the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 25, 2012. They posted 221 yards rushing that game with a 6.5 yard/rush average. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (129 yards) and Cedric Peerman (61 yards) combined for 190 yards rushing (A.J. green added 21 yards rushing).
If the Bengals take a quick lead, they might hit several rushing milestones on Sunday against the Patriots.