Bengals Week 1: Cincinnati takes on loud Baltimore atmosphere
09/06/2014 08:00 PM
Since the NFL schedules were released, a lot of time has been spent discussing the difficulty of Cincinnati’s schedule. It starts with Week 1 in Baltimore, where the Bengals haven’t won a game in four seasons. Part of the reason they’ve struggled to get a win in there is the atmosphere. Marvin Lewis described it by saying that their fans have the great attitude that “their team is invincible… And they bring that into the stadium with them.”
A few things to watch:
1. The turnover battle. Hue Jackson stressed all offseason the importance of not turning the ball over. Andy Dalton has struggled with turnovers in Baltimore in the past, but made it through this preseason without throwing a single interception. Dalton talked this week about understanding how important it is to win the turnover battle, and said they have to take care of the football and know it’s the most precious thing on the field. Since 2003, teams who win the turnover battle win the game about 80% of the time.
2. Bodine’s first NFL start. First start in the regular season anyways. After struggling some with his snaps out of the shotgun early in preseason, Bodine continued to improve. It’s still always risky to start a rookie at center, especially when facing Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata, but the Bengals are confident in Bodine. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and Marvin Lewis both reiterated this week that they drafted Bodine because they believe he can handle it.
3. New coordinators. The national media expects the Bengals to have some difficulty in transitioning to two new coordinators. Players have assured that the transition has been easy because of both Jackson and Paul Guenther being promoted from within. I think we’ll see some exciting changes in this offense under Hue. On the defensive end, not much has changed, the transition has been seamless and I think they’ll continue to be dominant.
Bonus: Geno Atkins returns. The star defensive tackle got some snaps in preseason, but Sunday we’ll get to see if he’s the same Geno Atkins post-ACL injury.
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