Bengals vs. Ravens: Three Matchups to Watch

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Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals have the league’s best running back duo in Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, so they need to run the ball all game long. As previously mentioned, Cincinnati has historically struggled to run the ball against Baltimore’s defense. However, with Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata out of the equation, Cincinnati could have much more success establishing a running game than it has had in the past.

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Jeremy Hill is a dynamic power back who can slash through defenses; he seems to break out a nice long run on a week-to-week basis, but Hill will need to prove that he can take care of the football this week after losing two fumbles in Week 2. Jeremy Hill has the potential to be a top three running back in the NFL, but if he can’t hold onto the ball, Giovani Bernard will start getting more carries, as evidenced in Cincinnati’s win over San Diego.

Giovani Bernard is easily the best satellite back in the NFL, meaning that he can change the pace of the game when he enters, proving as a threat in both the running and passing game. And although Bernard is beloved among Bengals fans, Who Dey Nation likely wants to see him utilized in a backup role rather than as the team’s starter. Bernard is more suited for–and plays better in–his satellite role; the Bengals are a better team with Hill as the starter.

The bottom line: Jeremy Hill needs to earn back our trust. I would be much happier with Hill rushing 75 yards and no fumbles than if he ends up with 150 yards rushing and a football. The Bengals can’t afford to turn the ball over in the running game.

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