Bengals vs. Jaguars: 5 Ways Cincinnati Could Lose to Jacksonville in Week 5
The Bengals are taking the field today under the influence of a foreign substance—confidence.
Cincinnati beat the previously undefeated Buffalo Bills last week and now have four winnable games staring at them over the next five weeks.
Could they really be 6-2 heading into the AFC North Division portion of their schedule?
I've been a Bengals fan too long to believe that could happen. I'm sure they'll lose one or two of these games in heartbreaking, Bungles fashion.
Jacksonville could easily be one of those games.
Not to be overly pessimistic, but here are five ways the Bengals could lose today's game.
1. Marcedes Lewis Has 100 Yards Receiving
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Marcedes Lewis is coming off a career year where he caught 58 passes for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He's a very talented pass catching tight end that has been severely underutilized by Blaine Gabbert.
The Bengals are historically terrible at covering tight ends. They've always had bad tackling teams, and the big bodied tight ends tend to break through for extra yardage against them on a consistent basis.
If Lewis has 100 yards and a touchdown today the Bengals are probably on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
2. The Defense Has Trouble Seeing Maurice Jones Drew
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Sadly, I've seen a lot of Jacksonville's games this year.
They are not a good team, but MJD is without a doubt their most talented player on the field.
Scouts often dismiss running backs because of their size, but I've seen several occasions where MJD's size has been the reason for his success.
Here's the heights of the players on the offensive and defensive line today when Jacksonville has the ball.
That's a lot of tall people battling in a confined space. It's very easy for the 5-8 Jones to get lost in the crowd. If this happens you will suddenly see a burst of green running into the Bengals secondary and it's going to be their responsibility to:
1. Catch him
2. Tackle him
Neither of these are easy chores.
Rey Maualuga needs to shadow MJD all game if the Bengals want to come out of Jacksonville with a win.
3. The Bengals Don't Use Jermaine Gresham
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Gresham had a decent rookie season last year and 2011 should be the year he emerges as one of the top five tight ends in football.
He is the second most talented player on the Bengals offense - behind AJ Green - and he offers the Bengals a huge advantage in the middle of the field.
There are very few linebackers in football that will be able to cover Gresham one-on-one.
Unfortunately, Andy Dalton has not been targeting Gresham as much as he should.
Tight ends and running backs should get the majority of targets when a rookie like Andy Dalton is on the field at the quarterback position. This helps minimize downfield mistakes and interceptions.
We've all watch as Dalton has keyed on one receiver and tried to force passes to players that were double covered.
If the Bengals are successful today then Gresham should have at least eight targets.
4. Cedric Benson Doesn't Touch the Ball 25 Times
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This Jaguars defensive line is not very good.
Cedric Benson should get a steady diet of rushes behind the left tackle today that will in turn set up the passing game.
5. If Mother Nature Intervenes
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Jacksonville and Carolina played in terrible conditions that forced each team to become one-dimensional.
Cam Newton threw for 158 yards while Blaine Gabbert only threw for 139.
There's a 90% chance of rain and thunderstorms in the forecast in Jacksonville today so be prepared for lots of dropped passes and turnovers.