Bengals vs. 49ers: Big Questions, Bold Predictions

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Dec 13, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) shows his Dark Knight gloves prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Difference-Makers

QUESTION: Who will be Cincinnati’s difference-maker on offence?
With their leader Andy Dalton and top touchdown threat Tyler Eifert out, Cincinnati will be looking for someone to step up against the 49ers. The Bengals have many talented players who have the ability to take over a game. Probably the first name that comes to mind is perineal Pro Bowler A.J. Green. Green is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and is certainly on the 49ers’ radar. More than likely, Green will be facing double coverage throughout the game. Coupled with McCarron’s inexperience, Green’s production could be minimized due to the lack of opportunity. McCarron will be looking for easy targets and will likely want to avoid the double-covered Green. If Green ends up neutralized, the field would be open for other receiving threats such as Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. However, they too will be feeling the constraints of a young QB. More than likely the Bengals’ wide receivers will not have standout performances. Instead, the ball will be spread around, with at least one of the pass-catchers hauling in a touchdown.

If Cincinnati’s receiving corps is held in check, production must come from elsewhere. A great place would be from the “thunder and lightning” combination that is the Bengals’ backfield. Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill have been a tale of two running backs, whose performances this season could not be more different. Gio holds the edge in both rushing yards (647) and total yards (1060) but is far behind in touchdowns (2). Jeremy Hill, on the other hand, was slow to start the season in all categories, with the exception of touchdowns. Hill was able to cash in on several short-yardage situations and currently has eight rushing touchdowns on the season. With the exclusion of the Steelers game, Hill has been coming on strong lately and has been flirting with his first 100-yard performance of the season. One of these two dangerous backs will step up this weekend against the second-worst rushing defense in the league.

PREDICTION: Jeremy Hill will run wild and Sanu will find the end zone in more ways than one.
Sunday will be Jeremy Hill’s coming out party. He will rush for 130 yards and 1 touchdown. Hill will carry the load for the Bengals and take pressure off of A.J. McCarron. Another player who will have a stand out performance is Mohammad Sanu. Though Sanu’s reception total will only be three, he will catch and thrown for a touchdown against San Francisco.

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