Game of the Week: Bengals-Vikings
How'd they do it? They passed (against a secondary that was missing
Defensively, the Beating Minnesota Blueprint would go something like this:
Step 1. Play tight pass defense.
Only one of those seems like something Cincinnati (or any other team, for that matter) can realistically hope for. And in the case of the Cardinals matchup, Step 2 pretty much led to Step 1. With Minnesota's run game suffering in the absence of tackles
If Cincinnati gets even modest successes against a Minnesota rush defense that's proven penetrable lately (4.0 yards per carry and 117 yards per game after Nov. 15), it'll be tough to abandon the running game. Simply put, Cincy's not built to come out throwing every down.
That isn't to say they can't do it. Take for example the Chicago Bears, whom the Bengals and Cardinals share as a common opponent.
Last week was just the latest example: one legit touchdown, a garbage score, and two interceptions -- after having thrown just three in the past 11 games. (OK, that last point may not be fair; his streak entering the game was just plain silly.) I'll give you one play to demonstrate that Favre may still have a reckless streak in him, and that his decision-making is at a low for the season.
After opening the second half against Arizona last week with an interception, Favre was tossed to the ground by defensive end
Afterward, Favre explained, "I let my temper get the best of me. I was kind of thinking outside the box and not thinking, period. It wasn't like I was surprised by the coverage... I just didn't make good decisions, from my end."
Welcome back, Bad Favre? We'll see...
But Cincy has nothing on Minnesota's injury report. As mentioned, both offensive tackles are iffy. Neither has participated in a full practice this week yet. The Vikings are also dealing with a trio of head-related injuries -- safety
Every week, I lend my thoughts on a few particularly startable or sit-worthy players. Here's who's I like in this Week 14 matchup:
I just can't get that one play out of my head: Favre forcing one into Rice downfield in a fit of rage. That sure leaves a bad taste. Compounded with all of those Minnesota injuries and Cincinnati's record against good teams, it should be enough for the Bengals to overcome the Vikings' serious home field advantage at the Metro..., er, Mall of America Field. (Never gonna get used to that one.) Peterson stays bottled up with his line dinged, and