Monday Night Football: Bengals vs. Bengals Preview

We all know the Bengals beat themselves under the lights on a regular basis.  With that out-of-the-way, how can they win?

Peyton Manning is 38 years old.  The oldest Super Bowl winning QB in NFL history was the 38-year-old Denver Bronco, John Elway, in 1998.  The next oldest was Brad Johnson at age 34 in 2002.  In 1998, Elway threw for 2,806 yards, (22 TDs, and 10 INTS) and Terrell Davis rushed for over 2,000 yards.  Football is a young man’s game.

Manning has not been very Manning lately; throwing only 20 times each of the last two weeks.  In the last 7 weeks, Manning has 4 multiple interception performances.  It is certain that he has been injured, the seriousness of the injury is unknown.

The Broncos are favored by 3.5 vs. the Bengals on Monday Night Football.  We Bengals viewers know that the Bengals are the Bengals biggest opponent.   We would all feel a little better about this game if it had taken place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, on a desert isle, with no television cameras.  For we have seen the Bengals fail time after time on national television.  Let’s be honest, would you really be all that surprised if they found a Bengal doing heroin in the Newport Pavilion Kroger tonight?

Peyton Manning, for all of his success and hall of fame numbers, has never been known to dominate the big stage either. He looked like he had never played the game before in last year’s Super Bowl.   The post season failures of the Colts during Manning’s time there is well documented.  At Tennessee, Manning failed to win a national championship with arguably UT’s most talented team ever.  Knocking Manning may seem like a stretch, but this is the NFL and crazier things have happen than Manning fumbling snaps and throwing interceptions on primetime television.

The Bengals come into this week with the 9th ranked defense in points given up.  Those are legitimately good numbers considering the schedule the Bengals have played thus far.  The Bengals have lost to the Steelers, Browns, Colts and Patriots.  In those losses, the opponents rushed for 193, 170, 171, and 220 yards respectively. The Broncos are 16th in rushing and really have only put together 2 impressive rushing games this season (exceeding 170 yards rushing only twice).

The Broncos have not been great on the road and the Bengals have not been great at home.  And so it goes.

I think we will see a close game with the edge going to the Broncos on Monday Night; if Manning is playing and playing reasonably well and getting support from the running game.  That is a big if.  However, if the Broncos show up and expect to throw the ball 45 times against the Bengals and win, they are mistaken.  Throwing every down is a recipe to get Manning killed tomorrow night.  If the Bengals can keep the Bronco running game at bay as New England (43 yards) and St. Louis (28 yards) were able to do, they will win and win convincingly.

Look for the Bengals to air it out.  I do not think the Broncos have an answer for AJ Green.  I would be really surprised if the Bengals are able to pound out 200 yards rushing vs the Broncos.  But if they do rush well, something went really right for the Bengals and they are better than I thought.  Dalton is going to have to show up and play well and he just might vs this Bronco pass defense.

Still crazy after all these years…

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