The Cincinnati Bengals are looking to improve a pretty impressive 2009 campaign. The Bengals finished the season first place in their division with a record of 10-6. Unfortunately they lost their first game in the playoffs to the New York Jets, losing 24-14. This year the team has made some big improvements, drafting highly regarded Tight End Jermaine Gresham and the popular Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley. Not to mention, the Bengals put two of the most outspoken wide receivers together (Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens). Without losing basically any important players, the Bengals have improved on paper. Let’s hope they can do so on the field. In week 1, they face one of the best offenses in the league, The New England Patriots.
The Bengals had an impressive 2009 campaign going 6-0 in their division. Aside from that, they were only able to beat one other team in the AFC, The Kansas City Chiefs. This is going to be a tough matchup for the Bengals, but with their improvements, they should be able to compete. Carson Palmer had a decent season in 09’, but with the addition of Terrell Owens and the emergence of Cedric Benson, Carson should be able to improve upon last year.
The Bengals definitely have their hands full this week against the Patriots. Last year, the Pats were third in the league with 397 offensive yards per game. Not to mention they were also the 3rd best passing offense. The good thing for the Bengals is that they had the fourth overall best defense in 09′. The Bengals are going to have to get to quarterback Tom Brady early.
They are going to have to blitz a ton and test Brady and his passing options considering he really only has Randy Moss to go to. Wes Welker is not 100% and Julian Edelman has not officially become a trustworthy option. If the Bengals want to pressure the Pats, they will blitz Brady and double-team moss. The Pats have a weak running game and if they can’t impose any real threats with a double-teamed Moss, they are going to have some big problems.
As for the Bengals offense, they will need to establish a pass-game early. If they can beat up on the young secondary in the early minutes, the Pats defense will lose some confidence which should open up the running attack of Cedric Benson. Also, at this point, no one is really sure which Terrell Owens is going to show up; the one who tore it up in Dallas just two years ago, or the ball-dropping WR in Buffalo last season.
I see the Bengals taking advantage of the Pats weak defensive secondary and gaining a big lead early. The Pats will battle back, but I think the Bengals will go out and open up the season with a 24-20 victory.
Cedric Benson: This is a decent matchup for Ced. The Pats had the 13th best rush defense last season. However, Benson played quite well last season and did not let top defenses stop him. I see Benson rushing for around 80+ yards and a TD.
Chad Ochocinco: Chad will come out hot getting a lot of looks from Carson. They have established a tight bond and Carson puts a lot of trust in Ochocinco. With a below average secondary from the Pats, Ochocinco should catch around 8 balls for 85+ yards and hopefully a score.
Carson Palmer: Palmer had an alright 2009, but did not show off his top 5 QB potential. We have not seen the old Carson Palmer since his devastating knee injury a few years ago. Until Carson throws for 250-300 yards consistently, I would look for another QB.
Terrell Owens: As I mentioned earlier, we really do not know which Owens is going to show up. I think he will be a top WR towards the end of the year, but he needs to first establish that bond and trust with QB Palmer. I only see Owens catching a few balls for about 40 yards. He has that big play potential which could happen early in the game, but I really do not see that happening.
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Written by David Reid