Cincinnati Bengals: On to Arizona


So, they’re 8-1.

Let’s face it, the Bengals’ performance on Monday night versus an underachieving Texans team was downright disappointing. The Bengals came into Monday night’s game the clear favorite and as the better team. As the game unfolded, Cincinnati all but gift-wrapped a win for the sub-.500 AFC South Houston Texans. In their last seven meetings, the Texans are 6-1 versus the guys in stripes, and Andy Dalton is 1-4 in that same stretch.

Now, on the horizon, are the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals, led by former Bengals number one overall draft pick Carson Palmer, look to turn this into a two-game losing skid for the orange and black. Clearly, most of the national media think this will happen, and even Vegas opened this game with the Bengals a four-point underdog.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, lets look at the facts. If we can use Dalton’s aforementioned 1-4 record versus Houston against him, then certainly we can talk about Dalton’s dominance of the NFC. Since 2011, Andy Dalton is 13-3-1 versus the NFC, and a commanding 7-1 on the road. The only road loss was at Chicago in the 2013 season opener, losing only by 3 points.

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Those are all fine and good numbers, but what about head coach Marvin Lewis? Well, Coach Lewis is staggeringly successful, boasting a 31-16-2 record in his tenure with the Bengals. Combine this record with the Bengals ability to bounce back after a loss, and this game is setting up to be an upset in Arizona.

Can we even call that an upset? The Bengals, entering Monday Night were 8-0 and the ESPN power rankings, for what they’re worth, had the Bengals as the second best team in the NFL behind New England. One loss should not immediately make them a scrap heap burning on the side of I-71. Frankly, the Bengals are a better team than the Cardinals, they are healthier, and their defense hasn’t given up more than 10 points per game in a month.

Arizona is no slouch and at 7-2 are a formidable foe, stacked to the gills with talent and great coaching. This is the kind of team that makes the playoffs and makes a run towards the super bowl. These are the teams Cincinnati has to beat if they want to go anywhere this season. The Bengals’ super bowl run begins in Glendale, AZ on Sunday Night Football.