Game 9 – Jaguars at Bengals – Shinking Ship Preview


Game 9 – 2008 Bengals Season

Jaguars at Bengals, November 2nd, 2008 – 1pm EST


How will the Bengals Offense Look?


What new trick can Fitzgerald unveil this week? What can suddenly improve his game, so much that there is a possibility of winning? Not much. Unless he can block, run and pass, Ryan Fitzgerald is doomed in his pursuit of helping this team find its first win.

Jacksonville has slipped defensively, given the departure of cornerstone players like Marcus Stroud but it has been generally solid except for putting pressure on opposing QB’s. With rookies Grove and Harvey waiting in the wings, it is clear there is hope for Del Rio’s team to make big gains down the road.


Benson has been nothing but solid in his time with the Bengals, despite trying to run behind one of the poorest O-lines in the NFL. He has made the most of Perry’s struggles and done well to learn the Bengals schemes in short order. Should this line ever show what it has the ability to do, Benson could find his way to being a productive NFL running back with this team.

With the Jags, they are giving up 108 yds/gm and show decent ability to defend against demanding runners in their division (Addai, Johnson/White, Green/Slaton). They’ve held very good runners in check this season; Marshawn Lynch – 59 yds and Jamal Lewis – 81 yds. I anticipate Mr. Benson to find the going tough against the well coached Jags D.


Through 8 games, this O-line has yielded 28 sacks. More so far than in all of 2007 or 2005. This line has an identity crisis. They are not the imposing bunch, anchored by Willie Anderson. They are a group of individuals who play hot/cold and figure to get blown up at season end, with the departure of Andrews, possible cutting of Jones and the re-make to feature position changes for Whitworth and maybe Williams (center?). Whatever happens, I cannot see them playing any worse as this is terrible.

The Jags offer little hope for redemption, save the sack category. The Jags have only 9 sacks so far this season, which is a paltry sum considering this team had 72 over the last 2 years.


With Caldwell and Simpson out, there is no chance the Bengals prized rookies will see the field. In fact, I don’t see them getting any significant playing time this year. This leaves one poorly performing Chad and one “doing what it takes” TJ. I say this about TJ as it is a contract year and should any teams be scouting him as a FA, all they need to notice are the 54 catches so far (second in the NFL) quietly being amassed in one of the worst performing offenses in the league.

Since the Jags play in a pass happy division, I expect them to put the clamps on TJ, to force the ball to Chad and Chatman.

How will the Bengals Defense Look?


Whatever. This D-line has done a Jekyll/Hyde routine all year. Stout against the run but with no pressure. Decent pressure then handing out big runs like kisses at a pride parade. No consistency…unless you count Thornton as the consistent player in this mess.

The Jags Offense features a two-headed run game that will grind you into oblivion. Averaging 114 yrds/gm, they will do their best to control the ball and burn the clock. With Taylor and Jones-Drew, it is a wonder this team has not pulled out more wins this year. At least they play the Bengals this week.


Nothing to note here. Rivers is out and this rotation is chock full of guys who were cast-offs from other teams who generally struggle defensively. My faith in this LB crew is gone. After the total quit-job they pulled in Houston, not one of these guys should have a job come off-season. Gone. Start over.


Wussies. Joseph quit on this team and we now have an assortment of cast-offs and virtual rookies holding down the fort. Even Hall is getting burned more frequently. He can’t do it all himself but he could at least hold his own.

Watch Garrard, with no revievers, have a career day.

How will the Special Teams Look?

I don’t want to sound OVERLY negative but giving up the punt return for a TD last week told me all I needed to know. Quit. With breakdowns like that, expect more of the same. ST is one of the more disciplined scenarios that play out in a game. Must get the job done. It only takes one small problem and a guy is gone. This squad looked bad last week.


Injuries – No Palmer, Caldwell, Simpson out with Jackson gone to IR. Utecht, our high-priced TE, is unknown…good plan there.

The Jags have key players Mathis and WR Williams probable.

Stadium/Fans – Is it a home game? Expect the crowd to turn quick if this team mails it in early. Ugly times down on the river.

Weather – Sunny, low 70’s’s, real nice day for a round of golf or bike ride.

Historically – Jags have an 11-5 edge. Not nice.

Relevant Stat – Going 0-9 means a achieving a feat only done one other time in Bengals history.

Prognosis – 0-9 is penciled in my column. Jags 20 – Bengals 6. The Jags need a win to stay alive, while the Bengals loss means a chance at immortality.