This week’s match up between the Denver Broncos (4-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) at Paul Brown Stadium should be an exciting one between two offense that can air the ball out which could result in plenty of points being put up on the scoreboard. For the first time all season the Broncos put together a complete game in their 34-14 route of the New Orleans Saints, but does Denver have another 60-minute game in them or can the Bengals come off of their bye and earn a much needed victory before they fall completely out of contention in the AFC North.
The Broncos offense is currently ranked third in total offensive yards gained per game (405.3 yards), fourth in both passing yards gained per game (292.9 yards) as well as points scored per game (29.1 points) and 14th in rushing yards gained per game (112.4 yards) while their defense is also very solid ranking eighth in both total offensive yards allowed per game (319.3 yards) as well as passing yards allowed per game (213.3 yards), 15th in rushing yards allowed per game (106 yards) and 14th in points allowed per game (21.7 points).
Peyton Manning is having yet another MVP-caliber season this year passing for 2,113 yards (5th in NFL), 17 touchdowns (tied for 3rd in NFL), four interceptions and completing 68.5% of his attempts (4th in NFL). Manning has been masterful all season and now it seems as if he and his receivers are finally getting their timing completely down pact which could be trouble for the rest of the league. Those receivers include Demaryius Thomas (39 receptions for 679 yards and 4 TD), Eric Decker (38 receptions for 484 yards and 5 TD) and Brandon Stokley (21 receptions for 235 yards and 3 TD) who all bring different attributes to the tables and Manning now knows in which situations to get the ball to each.
Willis McGahee (123 carries for 554 yards and 4 TD) will also be an important part of the offense, if he can keep the Bengals defense off balanced then it could be another 500-yard performance for the Broncos offense this week.
The Denver defense relies plenty on their passing rushing duo of Von Miller (27 tackles, 6 sacks, 8 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble) and Elvis Dumervil (29 tackles, 5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles) who together can create havoc in any teams backfield. Corner back Tracey Porter will miss his second consecutive game due to avoid a possible seizure.
The Bengals offense has been better than expected this season and rank 17th in total offensive yards gained per game (354 yards), 11th in passing yards gained per game (257.4 yards), 23rd in rushing yards gained per game (96.6 yards) and 14th in points scored per game (23.7 points) while their defense has been disappointing ranking 21st in total offensive yards allowed per game (357.1 yards), 16th in passing yards allowed per game (233.1 yards), 22nd in rushing yards allowed per game (124 yards) and tied for 25th in points allowed per game (26.7 points).
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been the definition of feast or famine for Cincinnati’s offense this season passing for 1,831 yards, 13 TD (9th in the NFL), 10 interceptions (tied for 3rd in NFL) and completing 64.2% of his attempts. Dalton’s favorite target is fellow second-year offensive standout A.J. Green who has hauled in 44 receptions (10th in NFL) for 636 yards (8th in NFL) and seven touchdowns (tied for 1st in NFL) this season. When Green isn’t available Dalton will look for either Andrew Hawkins (27 receptions for 346 yards and 2 TD) or Jermaine Gresham (28 receptions for 325 yards and 2 TD) to make some sort of plays for their offense.
The Bengals will need BenJarvus Green Ellis (125 carries for 431 yards and 2 TD) to leave his footprint on this game with his physical style of rushing the ball, if he can go over 125 yards on the ground it would do wonders for their chances of winning. The Bengals defense will rely on Geno Atkins (7 sacks, tied for 7th in NFL) and Michael Johnson (6 sacks) to get some pressure on Manning otherwise he will pick apart this Cincinnati secondary which isn’t the best around.
If the Broncos come out and play in the manner which they did last week then the Bengals don’t stand a chance against them. I think Denver will do exactly that and blow Cincinnati out of the water from the first quarter on; Broncos 34-17.