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Bengals’ running game faces another test against Broncos

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GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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When the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Denver Broncos, the Week 11 matchup will be a battle of stout defenses. The running game could make a difference.

Things just seem to go from bad to worse for the Cincinnati Bengals. During a year that was supposed to showcase the triumphs of five decades in the NFL, the Bengals have been less than stellar. In fact, it seems that each week brings out another aspect of weaknesses and flaws on offense and defense. Week 11 will be a trip to Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The ground game needs to be on point, for the O-line to offer any passing protection. The Denver Broncos may be 3-6, but they’re not a pushover.

Bill Lazor has had a few chances to get things going against teams that don’t fare well against the running game. Ken Zampese was clueless against the Ravens. Lazor has had the Packers, Steelers, Colts and Jaguars to get a sound game plan into place. Those teams are struggling to defend the run.  But, the running attack is still light years away from competitive. The Bengals are not the team of choice when thinking about great running backs. But, there have been a few to grace the shores of the Ohio River.

What was the Bengals best total for the ground game this season? They managed a robust 110 yards against Green Bay. Since that Week 3 breakout, the totals have been thin and thinner.

Time to let Joe test the waters 

If the Bengals have any chance of beating the Broncos, the running game will be a key element. In the last two losses, the Bengals’ running backs have been tossed to the wayside. Lazor and Marvin Lewis will ultimately blame the lack of running on playing from behind. But, a good ball control offense will mix the run and pass to perfection. Why not try running the ball from a hurry-up offense? Never mind. I’m not making any sense. Just the ramblings of a frustrated Bengals fan. Where was I? Oh, Joe.

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The Bengals drafted Joe Mixon to provide a spark. So far, Mixon has been able to provide 321 yards on the ground. Should he have more? Of course, he should. It’s not fair to compare what he’s doing to what his rookie classmates are achieving. They have a totally different set of circumstances.

But, why not toss caution to the wind and get wild? Leonard Fournette is doing his thing in Jacksonville. Kareem Hunt has set records with the Chiefs. Yes, those teams have lines capable of producing decent holes for the running game. But, this is the NFL. Lazor and Lewis should be able to scheme something to get him free.

Remember when Mixon said he wanted the ball, after the Steelers’ implosion? Well. it’s time to hitch the horses to this young man and see what he can really do. In other words, get in the car…and drive. Cincinnati’s pride and running game are on the line. 

That Broncos defense

As stated before, the Broncos are no slouches. Their defense is currently ranked 5th against the run. Overall, the Denver D chimes in at No. 7. They’re giving up considerably more through the air (204.0 ypg).

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Obviously, Lewis and Co. will scheme around this and ignore the run. How do I know? Common sense my dear reader. The Bengals run close to 60 percent or more passing plays per game. Andy Dalton will be shouldering the outcome of this game, unless changes are made. And…that won’t be anytime soon.

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