Week 11 will be a major hurdle for both the Bengals and the Broncos. If any momentum for a stretch run is going to take place, this is the game.
Both the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos have been struggling. While Cincinnati has gone 1-3 since the break, the Broncos have dropped five straight games. Each team comes into Sunday’s matchup at 3-6 and with the slimmest of chances to sneak into the playoffs.
Bengals fans who still hope that a miracle occurs are in the same situation as Denver faithful. If anything takes shape down the road, it has to start now and can’t end until they win the rest of their games. Both franchises had high hopes coming into the 2017 campaign. Injuries and sub par play have been the downfall for both.
Brock Osweiler will be under center for the Bengals-Broncos matchup. They could easily concede and let Paxton Lynch finish the season. But, they’re not throwing in the towel. The feeling is all about winning out and possibly making the playoffs.
"“The mindset is to go out there and get a win this week,” Osweiler explained. “We truly believe as players in that locker room that if we can get this win. Hopefully, we can create some momentum with that and get a little streak going.”"
The Bengals realize that the same thing has to happen for their situation to get better. Cruising to a 10-6 record from where they stand will be a tough road. But, has to start with Week 11. One at a time.
1. Get Denver down early
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The Cincinnati Bengals have fallen into a rut that teams have taken advantage of. March down the field, score and take the wind from the defense. Once the Bengals are down, the game plan won’t change and they normally don’t expect any adjustments from Marvin Lewis.
Bill Lazor has to come up with a scheme that will flow yet not be so predictable. The Bengals have to get out to a fast start and make the Broncos play from behind. They’ve proven to not be a good come-from-behind team.
Putting up a couple of fast TDs could get the Broncos’ defense into a funk. Lazor and his offense will be faced with scoring on the No. 2 ranked unit in the NFL. The good news? Denver is allowing 26.6 points per game. If the Bengals are ever going to get things going, this is the team they have to do it against.
2. Play solid defense
Cincinnati has a stout defense. But, lately, it’s been a bend-but-don’t-break attitude that has killed their chance at being truly elite.
In Week 10, the defense could have saved the day. Instead, they allowed a 12-play, 73-yard game-winning TD drive after the offense worked to get a 20-17 lead.
Part of that mentality has to come with stopping third down conversions. The Titans were able to hog the ball for a tad over 40 minutes. No team has a chance of doing anything with that short amount of time.
Over the past two battles, the Bengals defense has allowed 57.6 (19 of 33) percent of third downs to be converted. If defense wins championships, the D needs to dig deep and remember what’s on the line for the final games of the season. Even if it’s a pride thing, they have to perform better.
3. Offensively speaking
Lazor has fallen on hard times and there’s nowhere to go but up. The Bengals offense is ranked dead last in the league.
Whatever it takes to get the offense back on track, the Bengals need to do it. Having a weak game strategy against the Denver defense will do nothing but cause embarrassment. Von Miller is one of the best at sniffing out plays and getting into the backfield. He’s always credited with being a great pass rush artist. But, he can become disruptive all over the field.
The offensive line will need to be focused and ready for an air raid type blitz package. That seems to be the key to rattling Dalton. At this point he’s jumpy. Rolling him out and giving him a better view of the field will definitely help.