6 Aspects Critical to Bengals Beating the Vikings

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  • Defensive Line Under Pressure. Remember when the Bengals had one of the best defensive lines in the NFL? Geno Atkins is now out and the Bengals have only recorded 3 sacks since their bye week. Not only that, the Bengals have 11 total quarterback hits, and while that is not terrible, on tape the Bengals production has seemed to dwindle of the defensive line.
    There is still a great deal of talent on that line, but they must step up to help the injured secondary. The Minnesota Vikings offensive line is firing on all cylinders and are playing their hearts out, so the Bengals may have their work cut out for them. This could be a very big game for Domata Peko as he should disrupt rushing lanes to make Matt Cassel beat them. Even then, the Bengals must get pressure and not give Cassel all the time in the world.
    This is arguably the most intriguing aspect of this game.
  • Use Tight Ends. It appears this is in almost every aspect to each game, but that’s what the Bengals must do in order to win games. They must utilize their tight ends to their advantage, especially with the linebackers and safeties mostly struggling on the Vikings side of the field.
    Yes, Chad Greenway and Harrison Smith have done exceptionally well this year, but the Bengals can use Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert as key mismatches. Gresham is great with yards after the catch, and Eifert can catch as a wide receiver. It’s odd that Gruden has not used these players to their full potential and this game would be a great time to do so, so that Dalton can grow his confidence with them.
    If the Bengals want to move the ball, they should not be afraid to attack the middle of the field.
  • Marvin Lewis’ Mental Leadership. The Bengals were beaten, out-toughed, and mentally pushed down against the Steelers. Marvin Lewis must help this team stay together and let chemistry break through this hard loss. The Bengals must be willing to come out swinging and not stop until the final whistle, and get right back into training for the next week.
    Mentally, the Bengals had done well all season, but this was a very big blunder to the team as they could have had the #2 seed. Now, they may be playing not only for that seed, but even a playoff spot. Marvin Lewis must help his team keep composure throughout this game and not allow them to look forward to the next game.
    If the Bengals get smacked in the mouth by the Vikings, Marvin Lewis is completely under fault, so watch the mentality of this team on Sunday.
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