Why The Bengals Can’t Take The Redskins Lightly

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Bengals fans may think the trip across the pond to London is all fun and games. But, with first place in the AFC North at stake, it’s all business.

The Cincinnati Bengals will be knee-deep in Fish & Chips, Bangers and Mash, and all sorts of London delicacies. But, when the Bengals battle the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium Sunday, the emphasis should be on winning. The stage is set for a possible letdown. After trouncing Cleveland, coming out flat would be a serious mistake. 

We’re not going to London. It’s all about business.

It seems that the Bengals have worked themselves into another must-win game. Even though the Week 7 beatdown of the Browns didn’t seem important, it turned out to be huge. The win pulled the Bengals into a second-place tie with Baltimore and within one game of the Steelers. What started out as a disposable game was suddenly enormous. 

Washington is now the team standing in the way of Cincinnati’s push to the top of the AFC North. A good time in London should be preceded with a win over the Redskins. After taking care of business, have some Sticky Toffee Pudding. But, before gastronomic ecstasy can be enjoyed, dismantling the Skins is on the menu. 

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If the Bengals are going to turn things around, it starts with London and the Redskins. Marvin Lewis has already stated that the trip is all about business.

“We are not going to London,” Lewis expressed, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. “We are playing the Washington Redskins. It happens to be in London.”

If the players aren’t in business mode, Marvelous Marv isn’t doing his job. His demeanor says it all. The England affair is not vacation time. It ain’t the Pro Bowl.

Can’t Look Past The Skins

Jay Gruden and his Redskins are fresh off a loss to the Detroit Lions. The 20-17 loss they suffered was even closer than the score reveals. Kirk Cousins had led the Redskins to a 17-13 lead, with a few ticks over one minute left. The Washington defense–ranked at No. 23 in the league–gave up the winning TD with less than 20 seconds remaining.  

On the other side of the ball, Gruden has built a contender. Before the Week 7 loss, the Skins were riding a four-game winning streak. Under the tutelage of Gruden, Cousins is gradually becoming the quarterback Washington fans wanted. He seldom gives you spectacular plays. But, Cousins will take it slow and steady. He’ll grind out a win. He already has two game-winning drives this season. The late loss to Detroit halted a third.

Gruden has breathed life into the offense. Washington is riding along in the No. 3 position, right behind the Bengals. A deeper look at the numbers shows that the offenses are eerily similar. The only thing separating the records is a bad play by the respective defenses.

The Bengals seemed to shore up the defensive woes against Cleveland. But…it was the Browns. Gruden has a few more weapons at his disposal. Tight end Jordan Reed was cleared for practice and should see game action against the Bengals. Rob Gronkowski gave Cincinnati linebackers nightmares.

Stopping the run will be a major test for the Bengals D again. Matt Jones has that rare mixture of size and speed that can cause trouble. He’s pounding out 4.6 yards per carry, behind the Hogs’ O-line.

Next: Remembering Carson Palmer

London’s Calling

While fans are giddy over the Bengals being in front of an international crowd, the bottom line is disturbing. No team that has won in London has gone on to the playoffs. The Bengals are trying to turn things around. Five straight trips to the postseason are at stake. This could be the start of a new trend. But, it starts with not taking Washington lightly.

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