The Eagles offensive tackles haven’t been good at all, but without Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers should be star of this game as Carlos Dunlap will likely get the bulk the majority of the attention with a healthy Evan Mathis likely to lock horns with Geno Atkins and make him earn his paycheck. Philly has a solid receiving corps, but without Celek the Bengals secondary should be able to contain and possibly pick the young rookie. With no legitimate running game to speak of, the Eagles will have to be very creative to find its way into the end zone. Meanwhile, the Bengals would be wise to get back to pounding the rock with BenJarvus Green-Ellis against Philadelphia’s depleted defensive line and safeties. Once the west coast offense gets going, this could turn into a blow out. Expect Cincinnati to pull away with a statement win.
Bengals win, 34-16
WhilePhiladelphiafans are some of the most hostile, battery-throwing, Santa-Claus-loathing people in the world, they are currently playing with house money. Andy Reid is all but gone, and offensive stalwarts Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy have been supplanted by rookies Nick Foles and Bryce Brown with an eye to the future. Throw in the housecleaning with Jason Babin, Jim Washburn and Juan Castillo all being shown the door, and this team is currently auditioning to keep their jobs for the new regime.
While the Eagles offense could give the Bengals defense fits, their defense could be just what the doctor ordered to get back on track. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the only member of Philly’s defensive backfield that is playing worth his salt, and tight end Jermaine Gresham could abuse the Eagles linebackers and safeties down the seam. Throw in a front seven who are not much for stuffing the run, outside DeMeco Ryans, and the suddenly surging BenJarvus Green-Ellis could grind away at the Eagles.
Overall, the hostile environment and nothing-to-lose offense are going to make this very tough for the Bengals. But the Bengals are bouncing back from a close loss and have a better all-around team than the Eagles. I’m going to give the Bengals the edge on this one, but it is going to come down to the wire.
Bengals 28, Eagles 27
I can visualize one of two things, I’ve seen them both before: 1. The Bengals come out angry, pound the ball with a fresh BJGE (he only had 11 carries) and beat the Eagles after a terrible last second loss. Or, the one that I can easily see happen, The Eagles beat us because we aren’t used to that style offense and we can’t move the ball consistently. But I hope it’s the first option
Last week’s surprise victory felt something like a stay of execution for Andy Reid on his inevitable march to the gallows. Nick Foles has looked pretty good coming in from the bullpen for the injured Michael Vick, but this is still aPhiladelphiateam on a short week with little to play for. The Bengals know their playoff lives are at stake, and come out with their hair on fire.
Cincinnati 31, Philadelphia 13