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NFL Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals: 5 Keys To Victory In Week 1

Cincinnati Bengals: 5 Keys To Victory In Week 1

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver
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As the Cincinnati Bengals attempt to win their first game in Baltimore since 2009, the team looks to expose a mediocre Ravens secondary, capitalize on the Ravens' weak running game and start off the season strong. Ray Rice's absence will have a big impact on this game, as the Bengals will face Ravens backup running back Bernard Pierce; meanwhile, star Bengals receiver A.J. Green looks to dominate a sub-par Ravens secondary like he did last year.

5. Establish The Running Game Early

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals running back
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5. Establish The Running Game Early

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals running back
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Under new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, the Bengals will look to pound the ball down the field with second-year running back Giovani Bernard and rookie back Jeremy Hill. Jackson's offense is designed to take pressure off of quarterback Andy Dalton, setting up the play action and deep passes that Dalton loves to make with star receiver A.J. Green. Setting up the running game will set the tone of the game early for the Bengals offense.

4. Generate Pressure On The Defensive Front

Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle
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4. Generate Pressure On The Defensive Front

Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle
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With Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins returning to action in Week 1, the Bengals hope that they can generate pressure on the defensive front and take advantage of Ray Rice's suspension, stopping the run game and forcing Joe Flacco to force bad passes. Carlos Dunlap figures to record at least one sack, and Geno Atkins could tally up another.

3. Contain the Ravens' Speedy Receivers

Steve Smith Sr. and Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens wide receivers
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3. Contain the Ravens' Speedy Receivers

Steve Smith Sr. and Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens wide receivers
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After acquiring Steve Smith in free agency, the Baltimore Ravens have quietly assembled one of the league's better receiving squads. Steve Smith, Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones could all make an impact in this Week 1 matchup, but look for Terence Newman, the Bengals' speedy veteran corner, to limit and possibly even shutdown Steve Smith. Torrey Smith looks dangerous, and the Bengals need to find a way to stop him.

2. Limit Big Plays On Special Teams

Jacoby Jones, Baltimore Ravens kick returner/punt returner
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2. Limit Big Plays On Special Teams

Jacoby Jones, Baltimore Ravens kick returner/punt returner
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Jacoby Jones is a rare X-factor in the NFL who can change the course of a game in a matter of seconds. The Bengals need to eliminate the chance of Jones taking a kick or punt to the house by playing solid special teams, keeping contain, and staying focused. A Jacoby Jones touchdown could change the course of the game for the Ravens, giving them the momentum to even come back from behind.

1. Get The Ball To A.J. Green

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver
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1. Get The Ball To A.J. Green

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver
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A.J. Green has a history of burning the Ravens' secondary; he compiled 12 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns against Baltimore in 2013, including a Hail Mary catch that was one of the year's best plays. Although he currently talks to the media as if A.J. Green is just another receiver, the Ravens' rookie free safety Darian Stewart will surely view Green differently after getting burned deep on Sunday.

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.