Bengals vs Lions: The Major Key Is To Stay Healthy

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Aug 12, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) looks to pass in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) looks to pass in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Bengals take on the Detroit Lions, In Week 2 action. With so many players getting nicks and bruises, the key will be staying away from injuries.

The Cincinnati Bengals are getting things in gear for preseason game number two. They’ll be grabbing a flight  to Detroit, for a battle with the Lions. The key to Thursday night’s matchup isn’t as complicated as fans may think. Week 2 of the preseason is a little early to look for extensive breakdowns of the personnel. Under the current set of circumstances, the main key is to stay healthy. 

The walking wounded are springing up like microwave popcorn (okay, it wasn’t poetic. It was meant to get the point across). The latest addition to the list is Brandon LaFell. LaFell had been wearing a wrap around the base of his thumb, since the end of joint practices with the Vikings. The diagnosis is torn ligaments. 

Injuries are a common occurrence, during training camp. This season has started out with a ton of mishaps. Head coach Marvin Lewis doesn’t expect LaFell to see action against the Lions. But, that could change. The decision to start him will be on a spur-of-the-moment basis.

“I don’t know if we’re going to play Brandon or not. We’ll make the decision before we land.”

The Bengals lost their opener against the Minnesota Vikings, 17-16. But, there were lots of positives. The starters played with the intensity that helped Cincinnati win the AFC North. The one thing the Bengals must do, besides trying to win, is come away with a victory.

One of the bright spots in Week 1 was the play of Alex Erickson. During his time on the field, Erickson was able to score both of Cincinnati’s touchdowns. With LaFell nursing an injury, the wide receiver position just got interesting. Look for more out of the speedy Wisconsin Badger.

Cody Core has looked like a solid addition. But, Tyler Boyd has been roaring the loudest. His over-the-shoulder, sideline catch was a sight to behold. His abilities need to be addressed more. The Lions will provide the services of Darius Slay. The matchup could serve as an indicator of Boyd’s skills.

The defense is looking like the fearsome unit from 2015. With that said, there are still a few questions to be answered. Last week, Margus Hunt played with no intensity. Time is running out. This may be the week he needs to show up or get handed his walking papers.

Hunt has the physical makeup of a dominant defensive end. The problem? He doesn’t bring the fire to the field. Will Clarke may be the one taking his roster spot. Listed at 6’6” and 280 pounds, Clarke has the speed and power to play the position. Since the Bengals drafted him, his technique has improved drastically. Clarke’s build is similar to Hunt. The big difference seems to be desire.

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Kevin Coyle need to keep an eye on Chykie Brown. He was burned on a TD drive by the Vikings and also had a penalty on the same play. The Bengals have depth at the position, but a few nicks and bruises. A good showing against the Lions will help define how the backups are doing. Shutting Matt Stafford down would be a great start.

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