October 25, 2014

Will The Bengals End The Denver Drought?

After a surprising (to some) win in Cleveland last week, a number of Bengals fans are primed for the Bengals to take their record to 2-0 in Denver this week. A number are quietly hopeful but still need more evidence that this team can complete and didn’t just get lucky to catch Cleveland napping. And of course we have those people who hate Mike Brown so much that they hope the Bengals lose every game from now until the day he resigns/dies. Two of those attitudes I understand.

So, is it reasonable to believe the Bengals can win? Or is that just sipping the Orange-Aid?

Factors favoring the Bengals:

  • Injuries to key Broncos (Bailey, Dumervil, Lloyd, Moreno) hurt a lot. All four are listed as questionable. Only Lloyd has practiced this week, and that was limited.
  • D.J. Williams, the Broncos’ best linebacker, is definitely out.
  • Broncos front line has not controlled LoS and is prone to penalties.
  • The Broncos’ running game is brutal, and the D-line knows all about McGahee.
  • Broncos have to throw a lot, which means more snaps for Carlos Dunlap.
  • Brandon Stokley is not on the roster to rip our hearts out again.

Factors opposing the Bengals:

  • History is against them. (They are 8-17 against Broncos and have not won in Denver since Gerald Ford was president.)
  • Rookie Von Miller is impressive. He forced a fumble last week.
  • The altitude can wear down visiting team.
  • IF he plays, Brandon Lloyd is always dangerous.
  • The Bengals have to play clean: minimal penalties, no turnovers. They did well with both last week, but a longer track record is needed to be sure that was not a “happy accident”.
I know that I did not include the whole Orton/Tebow dynamic. Frankly, I think that is stuff that fans love to talk about but means nothing on the field. If Orton can be rattled by that, his career is over, because Fox is behind him 100%. Orton had a bad game against Oakland, and he will be looking to rebound against the Bengals. He is not getting help from his O-line and is taking some blame that ought to be directed at them.
Three keys to a Bengals win:
  1. Pressure Orton. (If he is comfortable, his odds of having a good game go way up.)
  2. Negate Von Miller. (With Dumervil gimpy or out, controlling Miller dulls the defense significantly.)
  3. Protect the ball. (No “Oh s***!” moments.)
The Broncos are favored at home, but in a battle of two out-of-favor teams, I think the injuries to Denver are just too significant. The Bengals’ D-line will pressure Orton enough to limit his effectiveness, and effective running early by Benson will open up the field for the passing game. The Broncos will get a few big plays, but not enough in the end. The Bengals come home 2-0 to the shock (and embarrassment) of ESPN talking heads, and Denver seethes as the mob encircles Mile High Stadium attempting to force Fox to start Tebow.