NFL Preseason 2014: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview

By Connor Howe
Mark Zerof - USA TODAY Sports
Mark Zerof – USA TODAY Sports

When the Cincinnati Bengals take the field against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night, fans will expect a defensive battle between the Bengals’ third-ranked defense and the Cardinals’ sixth-ranked defense. This will be the second game that the Bengals play against Carson Palmer, their former franchise quarterback. The front seven in Cincinnati will look to sack Palmer, as they were unable to sack a Jets quarterback in their Week 2 matchup. Meanwhile, Arizona’s front seven will try and adjust to playing without fan favorite Darnell Dockett.

As they arrive in Arizona, the 0-2 Bengals look to see whether Andy Dalton can play more lights out football against a team with an even better defense than that of the Jets. Fans and skeptics want to see whether Dalton is ready for the spotlight this year and whether he will be able to make big plays against a big-time defense. More importantly, however, the Bengals want to see what they can get out of their reserves, as the reserves blew a 14-3 lead against the Jets last week.

On offense, Matt Scott and Tyler Wilson will look to prove themselves in their battle for a spot on the practice squad, and Bengals receivers will look to make some big plays and earn a chance of starting the first 3-4 weeks of the season as Marvin Jones recovers from injury.

On defense, Geno Atkins will make his preseason debut. Meanwhile, Margus Hunt and Wallace Gilberry will duke it out for the starting spot at RE opposite Carlos Dunlap. The Bengals coaches hope that their reserves can play well. Coaches are confident with the Bengals’ starters, and at this point they are trying to evaluate talent for the 53-man roster and practice squad.

On the other hand, the 1-1 Cardinals hope that Palmer can pick apart a Bengals’ secondary that keeps getting younger and younger. Fans are looking forward to seeing Michael Floyd emerge as the Cardinals’ No. 1 receiver, while Larry Fitzgerald looks to play like he has in years past. However, the Cardinals’ biggest concern is how their defense will play this year after losing Karlos Dansby, Daryl Washington and now Dockett. Bruce Arians will be looking at Kevin Minter and Larry Foote, making sure that they will be durable enough to last the season yet good enough to make some impact plays on defense. He will also look to see how defensive tackle Frostee Rucker will fit on the defensive line with Dockett gone.

Although this is only a preseason matchup, this will be an intense battle between Palmer and the Bengals’ starting defense as well as Dalton and the recovering Cardinals defense looking to make a name for themselves in a new way. Look for former Cardinal and current Bengal Dontay Moch to try and get after the Cardinals’ reserve quarterbacks to earn a spot on the Bengals roster, while Frostee Rucker, a former Bengal, tries to get after Giovani Bernard in the running game.

As fans know, anything can happen on Sunday night. This matchup will make for some great football.

Connor Howe is a Cincinnati Bengals writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @CHoweSports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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