coleryan Posts:12114 Followers:20
On 12/17/2013 06:14 AM in NFL

Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals had a chance to get a very big win in the National Football League, but feel flat against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night Football. Although they are home this week, things won’t get an easier as they host the Minnesota Vikings, a team that has clearly not given up on the season. Read More Here

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  • Last 7 Days Record: 7-6-0
coleryan Posts:12114 Followers:20
12/17/2013 03:02 PM

Minnesota knows that they don’t have a lot to play for right now as there are two games remaining and they’d certainly like to finish the year on a positive note. One thing they can do is actually hurt the playoff chances and alter the seeding spots of other teams such as their last two opponents.

Up first will be the Cincinnati Bengals, who are coming off a big loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers after winning three in a row.

The Bengals have been up and down all season as they’ve had some really good win streaks going on at times while they’ve lost other games that they easily should have won. Now, they still lead the AFC North, but the Baltimore Ravens aren’t far behind and neither are the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Minnesota can play the role of spoiler, but they’re going to have to do some work.

Quarterback Andy Dalton is having a really good year as he’s on his way to 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, but that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the weapons he has.

A.J. Green is easily his primary target, and he’s going to play havoc with the Minnesota secondary all day. He’s a tall receiver with good speed and great hands, and he just knows how to go up into the air and bring down the ball no matter where it is thrown.

From there, the Bengals split up their receptions among numerous other players including running back Giovani Bernard coming out of the backfield.

That is a place where the Bengals are rather dangerous. Neither Bernard nor BenJarvus Green-Ellis are having stellar seasons, but combined, they make one formidable and strong back.

Keeping the Bengals in their games this season would be that of their defense.

Cincinnati has the seventh-ranked passing defense in the league and fifth-ranked rushing defense. Not many players are racking up great individual numbers, but they are doing phenomenal as a whole.

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict easily leads the team with 151 total tackles, and that is more than double the next closest Bengal. Carlos Dunlap (7.0) and Wallace Gilberry (7.5) lead the team in sacks though, and they are a trio of players that Matt Cassel will have to watch out for up front.

Cincinnati really does have a great team that can go far in the playoffs, but they would benefit from a higher-seeding. Minnesota can play spoiler and mess up the chances of the Bengals winning the AFC North, but they’re going to have to do a lot of work.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 7-6-0
coleryan Posts:12114 Followers:20
12/18/2013 04:21 PM

Still in control of their playoff fate, the Cincinnati Bengals are focused on what lies ahead and not behind.

Looking to bounce back from their first loss in a month and remain undefeated at home, the Bengals can possibly secure a playoff berth and the AFC North title Sunday while trying to make sure the Minnesota Vikings go winless on the road for the third time in franchise history.

Riding a three-game winning streak in which it topped 40 points twice, Cincinnati (9-5) took a step back with last Sunday's 30-20 loss at Pittsburgh. The defeat was magnified a night later when Baltimore edged Detroit to move one game behind the first-place Bengals in the North.

Cincinnati, which lost to the Ravens last month, hosts them next week but can take some drama away by clinching the division with a win against the Vikings (4-9-1) and a Baltimore loss or tie against New England.

A Cincinnati victory plus a loss or tie by Miami in Buffalo on Sunday would secure a third straight playoff berth for the Bengals.

"We've got to go play and win football games," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We didn't win one. So we've got to win the next two. If we take care of that and take care of ourselves, that's all we have to worry about."

The Bengals were held to 279 total yards at Pittsburgh, falling to 2-2 this season when recording fewer than 300. Andy Dalton threw for 230 yards with two touchdowns and A.J. Green caught nine passes for 93, but Cincinnati's longest gain of the night covered 19 yards.

Cincinnati averaged 141.6 rushing yards in the previous five games but equaled a season low with 57 last weekend.

The Bengals also matched their season high for points allowed while yielding a touchdown reception and a 67-yard punt return score in the first quarter to Antonio Brown as the Steelers opened a 21-0 lead.

"There's no panic," Dalton said. "There's no worry about anything. We're not frantic. We still have two games at home and have everything to accomplish, so we've got to take care of our business."

Cincinnati has certainly taken care of matters at home, where it's 6-0, averages 33.2 points and has scored at least 41 in three consecutive games. The Bengals averaged 19.4 points on the road, where they finished with a losing record for the first time in three seasons.

Dalton has completed 63.0 percent of his passes and thrown only five of his 16 interceptions this season at Paul Brown Stadium. Of the 14 TDs he's thrown there, 11 have come over the last three contests.

While Cincinnati is trying to go undefeated at home for the first time since 1988, Minnesota hasn't gone winless on the road since 2001. The Vikings, who went 0-7 away from home during their inaugural season in 1961, are 0-6-1 on the road and did beat Pittsburgh in London while considered the home team.

Indianapolis was the last team to go without a road victory during its 2-14 season in 2011.

Though Minnesota hasn't played in Cincinnati since 2005, it's dropped two straight and five of six all-time there.

"We are going to emphasize (getting a road win)," said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who was Lewis' defensive coordinator in Cincinnati in 2003-04. "We want to win this final road game. It's important. It's our next game on our schedule and we are going to emphasize it for sure."

After missing last Sunday's 48-30 upset of Philadelphia, injured running backs Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) are expected to be available for a Vikings team that's dropped three road games by four or fewer points.

Matt Cassel threw for 382 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Greg Jennings set season highs with 11 catches and 163 yards plus a TD and third-stringer Matt Asiata rushed for three TDs during Minnesota's highest-scoring game of the season.

Though the Vikings won't be making a second straight playoff appearance, the focus remains on themselves and not the fate of their opponent.

"We don't use that word spoiler in our conversation," Frazier said. "We're trying our very best to work as hard as we can to get a win for our team and it's nothing to do with the impact it would have on any other team."

Set to make his third straight start, Cassel has thrown for 890 yards with five TDs and two INTs in the last three games.

Second in the NFL with 1,221 rushing yards, Peterson ran for 97 and two TDs on 26 carries during Minnesota's 30-10 home win over the Bengals in 2009.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 7-6-0
coleryan Posts:12114 Followers:20
12/19/2013 02:43 PM

Still in control of their playoff fate, the Cincinnati Bengals are focused on what lies ahead and not behind.

Looking to bounce back from their first loss in a month and remain undefeated at home, the Bengals can possibly secure a playoff berth and the AFC North title Sunday while trying to make sure the Minnesota Vikings go winless on the road for the third time in franchise history.

Riding a three-game winning streak in which it topped 40 points twice, Cincinnati (9-5) took a step back with last Sunday's 30-20 loss at Pittsburgh. The defeat was magnified a night later when Baltimore edged Detroit to move one game behind the first-place Bengals in the North.

Cincinnati, which lost to the Ravens last month, hosts them next week but can take some drama away by clinching the division with a win against the Vikings (4-9-1) and a Baltimore loss or tie against New England.

A Cincinnati victory plus a loss or tie by Miami in Buffalo on Sunday would secure a third straight playoff berth for the Bengals.

"We've got to go play and win football games," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We didn't win one. So we've got to win the next two. If we take care of that and take care of ourselves, that's all we have to worry about."

The Bengals were held to 279 total yards at Pittsburgh, falling to 2-2 this season when recording fewer than 300. Andy Dalton threw for 230 yards with two touchdowns and A.J. Green caught nine passes for 93, but Cincinnati's longest gain of the night covered 19 yards.

Cincinnati averaged 141.6 rushing yards in the previous five games but equaled a season low with 57 last weekend.

The Bengals also matched their season high for points allowed while yielding a touchdown reception and a 67-yard punt return score in the first quarter to Antonio Brown as the Steelers opened a 21-0 lead.

"There's no panic," Dalton said. "There's no worry about anything. We're not frantic. We still have two games at home and have everything to accomplish, so we've got to take care of our business."

Cincinnati has certainly taken care of matters at home, where it's 6-0, averages 33.2 points and has scored at least 41 in three consecutive games. The Bengals averaged 19.4 points on the road, where they finished with a losing record for the first time in three seasons.

Dalton has completed 63.0 percent of his passes and thrown only five of his 16 interceptions this season at Paul Brown Stadium. Of the 14 TDs he's thrown there, 11 have come over the last three contests.

While Cincinnati is trying to go undefeated at home for the first time since 1988, Minnesota hasn't gone winless on the road since 2001. The Vikings, who went 0-7 away from home during their inaugural season in 1961, are 0-6-1 on the road and did beat Pittsburgh in London while considered the home team.

Indianapolis was the last team to go without a road victory during its 2-14 season in 2011.

Though Minnesota hasn't played in Cincinnati since 2005, it's dropped two straight and five of six all-time there.

"We are going to emphasize (getting a road win)," said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who was Lewis' defensive coordinator in Cincinnati in 2003-04. "We want to win this final road game. It's important. It's our next game on our schedule and we are going to emphasize it for sure."

After missing last Sunday's 48-30 upset of Philadelphia, injured running backs Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) are expected to be available for a Vikings team that's dropped three road games by four or fewer points.

Matt Cassel threw for 382 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Greg Jennings set season highs with 11 catches and 163 yards plus a TD and third-stringer Matt Asiata rushed for three TDs during Minnesota's highest-scoring game of the season.

Though the Vikings won't be making a second straight playoff appearance, the focus remains on themselves and not the fate of their opponent.

"We don't use that word spoiler in our conversation," Frazier said. "We're trying our very best to work as hard as we can to get a win for our team and it's nothing to do with the impact it would have on any other team."

Set to make his third straight start, Cassel has thrown for 890 yards with five TDs and two INTs in the last three games.

Second in the NFL with 1,221 rushing yards, Peterson ran for 97 and two TDs on 26 carries during Minnesota's 30-10 home win over the Bengals in 2009.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 7-6-0
stormy1114 Posts:60 Followers:0
12/20/2013 04:00 PM

minny had their superbowl against philly, cincy bounce back in a landslide

coleryan Posts:12114 Followers:20
12/20/2013 10:27 PM

The Vikings ruled out cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and it’s doubtful that tight end John Carlson (concussion) will play on Sunday. Running back Adrian Peterson (groin, foot) is expected to play despite a questionable tag with Toby Gerhart (hamstring) looking set to return to the lineup as well.

It’s doubtful that Bengals cornerback Terence Newman (knee) will play and defensive end Carlos Dunlap, linebacker James Harrison and offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth are all questionable after suffering a concussion.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 7-6-0
coleryan Posts:12114 Followers:20
12/20/2013 11:06 PM

Cincinnati has certainly taken care of business at home, where it's 6-0 and averages 33.2 points per game versus 19.4 points on the road.

The Bengals have scored at least 41 in three consecutive games as the host, something that bodes well against the Vikings' porous defense, which allows 406.5 yards per game, 88 more per contest than the Bengals stout D, which surrenders 318.4.

Minnesota is also the only NFL team which hasn't won as the visitor in 2013 and will be trying to avoid going winless away from the Gopher State for the first time since 2001.

"We are going to emphasize (getting a road win)," said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who was once Lewis' defensive coordinator in Cincinnati from 2003-04. "We want to win this final road game. It's important. It's our next game on our schedule and we are going to emphasize it for sure."

Lewis fired Frazier after the Bengals finished 19th in total defense and 21st in scoring defense in 2004. Frazier, though, has no ill-feeling toward his old mentor.

"I have a lot of respect for Marvin," the Vikings coach said. "That entire Bengals organization, the Browns (owners), they were terrific to me during my time there. Marvin and I see each other in the offseason. We have a good relationship. I'm always thankful for every place I've ever been in my career. Wherever I've been its always been a benefit, so I'm thankful for my time in Cincinnati."

Frazier is nothing if not classy so you know he wasn't going to take a shot at Lewis or the Bengals but this one will mean a lot to him because he is on the hot seat again after a bad season in Minnesota, which has been marred by Frazier's indecision at the quarterback position.

A quicker move from the disappointing Christian Ponder to the veteran Cassel, who has thrown for 890 yards with five TDs and two INTs over the last three games probably would have made the Vikings very competitive in what has turned out to be a worse than expected NFC North.

Peterson and Gerhart are also both expected back in the lineup for this one, making things far dicier for the Bengals.

That said, Dalton and many of his teammates have proven to be far different players at Paul Brown Stadium.

"There's no panic," Dalton said. "There's no worry about anything. We're not frantic. We still have two games at home and have everything to accomplish, so we've got to take care of our business."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 7-6-0