Bengals Catch Break with Danny Trevathan, Brandon Marshall Out


Nov 30, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs tight end

Anthony Fasano

(80) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won the game 29-16. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night, the Bengals have a difficult matchup against the Denver Broncos.  Overcoming Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense will be no easy task, but a win at home this week will secure the Bengals a playoff spot and possibly the AFC North crown if the Steelers lose and the Ravens lose or tie.

When trying to defeat the Broncos, the best way to do so is to keep the Broncos’ offense off the field.  With this goal in mind, it’s convenient that the Bengals possess the league’s sixth ranked rushing offense, but to counter this, the Broncos wield the league’s second best running defense.  This presents the Bengals with a difficult situation this weekend when attempting to overcome such a potent offense and competent opponent.  Yet, as of this weekend, the Bengals may have caught a bit of a break.

Mike Klis of the Denver post is reporting that the Broncos have suffered some more injuries to their linebacking core.

After having a breakout year in 2013, Danny Trevathan has missed much of 2014 while battling knee injuries, so his absence is nothing new for the Broncos.  Trevathan’s replacement this year has been Brandon Marshall, a third year linebacker out of Nevada.  Like Trevathan last year, Marshall is having a breakout year as he’s currently eighth in the league for combined tackles (113), second in the league in solo tackles (91), and second amongst linebackers in pass deflections (9).  But after suffering a foot injury this past week (Lisfranc), it looks as though Marshall may also be out this week.

If Marshall does in fact miss this week’s game, the Broncos will be forced to employ some little used linebackers.  ESPN’s John Clayton suggests here that those linebackers could be Steven Johnson, a third year reserve out of Kansas, and Todd Davis who’s only been with the Broncos for about a month.  Here’s the two linebackers’ 2014 stats.

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Clearly both Johnson and Davis are incredibly inexperienced and this will be a great advantage for the Bengals in Primetime, a place they have struggled as of late.

First and foremost the Bengals will need to be effective when running the football; as stated before, it’s the best way to keep Peyton Manning and Co. from seeing the endzone to often.  Jeremy Hill‘s bruising style will help the Bengals control the clock and win the time of possession battle.

More than that, the Bengals will benefit from absence of Trevathan and Marshall in the passing game.  Both of these linebackers have proven themselves adept when defending the pass.  This will give the Bengals the opportunity to find success on short to intermediate throws, and these kinds of throws are also conducive of controlling the ball.

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This Monday, the Bengals need to identify and attack the weaknesses of the Broncos.  The Bengals’ offensive line will need to block well when trying to run the ball past Terrance Knighton while also trying to pass the ball without allowing Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware to get their hands on Andy Dalton.  But if the Bengals can control to line of scrimmage, they’ll give Jeremy Hill a real opportunity to take advantage of a weakened linebacking core. It’ll be crucial towards the Bengals finding success on Monday Night Football.