It's been since 1975 that the Cincinnati Bengals have defeated the Denver Broncos in Denver. That's not the only piece of history the Bengals will be trying to rewrite as they take on the 0-1 Broncos today. Andy Dalton will be attempting to become the first quarterback since a certain former Bronco did it in 1983 to win his first NFL starts on the road. Perhaps the most significant achievement would be for the franchise. Cincinnati has never in their history started 2-0 on the road. In order for these things to occur, here's what has to happen.
Get Cedric the rock. Cedric Benson needs 25-30 touches today. Last week the Raiders running game torched the Broncos. The Bengals can do the same, but offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has to maintain the same patience and dedication to the run as he did last week. The Broncos' front seven is banged up, making them ripe for being gashed by the run. Add in some doses of Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard to spell Benson in the thin air, and the Bengals could rack up over 200 yards on the ground.
Keep Andy Dalton in third and manageable. Dalton has enough weapons and is accurate enough to be very good in this West Coast offense, provided his line doesn't have to block for a lot of longer routes and Dalton doesn't have to make his living throwing them. He can also gain some yards with his feet if necessary. To do this the Bengals need to
Avoid penalties. Last week, the Bengals were only penalized three times. That's going to help a lot on the road. It will be louder today in Denver, so the offensive line has to really concentrate to avoid presnap penalties.
Keep the pressure on Kyle Orton. Orton is missing his starting tailback and possibly his best receiver. The Bengals need to get the same pressure from their front seven as they did last week in Cleveland. Orton is not nearly as mobile as Colt McCoy. He's not going to create plays outside the pocket with his feet. Look for Carlos Dunlap to have a big game today.
What I see: Get out the erasers. History will be rewritten. The Bengals will dominate the game statistically, but will make enough mistakes to keep the Broncos in the game. Still, controlling the clock behind Cedric Benson, the Bengals win 23-17 and return home 2-0.
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