Cincinnati Bengals: Five Players to Watch vs. the Titans

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Aug 28, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko (94) against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Domata Peko

Domata Peko is the one of the team’s best leaders and while Vontaze Burfict may be the defense’s heart, Peko may represent it’s soul.  His primary job along the line is to stop the run and it’s why he’ll be vital to the team’s success in the coming week. The Titans’ success in week one and their failure in week two can be directly correlated to their ability to utilize their running attack.  In their first game, a win against the Chiefs, the Titans were able to run the ball 38 times for 162 yards.  In their loss to the Cowboys, the Titans were only able to run the ball 13 times for 82 yards.  This correlation seems undeniable.  With that in mind, it could be argued that the offense could be equally important in this respect by gaining an early lead and forcing the Titans into throwing the ball more often than they’d like, but this effort begins with Peko (and his compadres along the line). Peko has been an unsung hero for this defense while also receiving little recognition for his performance.  Geoff Hobson of did a nice profile on Peko regarding this topic prior to the start of this season.  It includes this quote from Peko.

"“It all begins with stopping the run. That’s why I play this game. I take a lot of pride in what I do and my defense and getting the run defense better and improving every year.”"

It’s exactly what he’ll need to do on Sunday if the Bengals are to come away with a win.