Cincinnati Bengals host Carolina Panthers: Game Preview

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Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes the ball during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are facing a mobile quarterback this week in Cam Newton. They will face a passing game that is above average, and they will do this while getting back their top linebacker. The Bengals will also be missing their top offensive pass threat, A.J. Green, so what does that mean for both teams on Sunday?

Cincinnati Bengals Keys to the Game:
It will be a matter of containing Cam Newton and stopping a passing game that has been good, but not great. Paul Guenther must address the “bend but not break” strategy and make some big stops early to bring momentum back. When the Panthers have scored 20 points or more this season, they are 3-0, but 0-2 when they have scored 19 or less points.

The offense will need to put points on the board. They will need to keep Andy Dalton clean and give him time, something he didn’t have in New England. The Panthers have dropped both games against the AFC North so far and allowed 37.5 points against the Ravens and Steelers. If they can put the Panthers away early, Cincinnati will put some questions to bed regarding how good this offense really is.

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Carolina Panthers Keys to the Game:
The Panthers will need to come out and attack the Bengals early on offense. It will be key to getting the crowd out of the game and this Bengals tram out of sync. Cam Newton will have to be clever when choosing to run because he will most likely have a spy on him at all times. The offense will need to click early and often if they expect to win at Paul Brown Stadium.

The defense must hold a very good home team to minimal yards and points. They have already displayed struggles against the Ravens and Steelers with how the AFC North plays on both sides of the ball. They will need to stop the run and force an unbalanced offense, not to mention getting to the quarterback and forcing quick decisions.

Prediction:
The Bengals at home are the exact opposite team from the Bengals on the road. I would be completely shocked to see any hangover from Sunday night against the Patriots. Bengals win and should win easily at home 35-17.