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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Bengals vs Titans: Preview

Bengals vs Titans: Preview

Publish Date: 11/26/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow 9 celebrates after picking up the first down against the Baltimore Ravens defense during the second half of play at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sunday, December 26, 2021. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY JPS20211226013 JohnxSommersxII

Last week the (6-4) Cincinnati Bengals won their first divisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that game, the Bengals showed the depth of their team by making adjustments at halftime and proving to the rest of the league that they can continue rolling even when they are missing critical pieces like Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon.

Many Bengal fans are headed down to Nashville to watch their Bengals take on a (7-3) Tennessee Titans in a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Round game, where the Bengals moved on with a walk-off kick at the end of the game. Will this be a revenge game for the Titans, or will this be the game where the Stripes start to hit their stride on the back end of their schedule? Let’s look at what the Bengals need to do to come away from Music City with a win.

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All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

Tannehill is still carrying the loss.

Titan’s quarterback has been playing at a high level of football this season. You do not have to look any further than last week’s game against Green Bay when he threw for 333 yards to beat the packers 27-17. However, last year’s loss to the Bengals weighed heavy on his mind this off-season.

Tannehill told reporters, “It’s a scar. It’s a deep scar. It was a lot of sleepless nights. Every time I closed my eyes, I was rewatching the game in my head. Didn’t get a whole lot of sleep for weeks and weeks after the game. I was in a dark place. And it took me a while and a lot of work to get out of it. You know, it wasn’t something that went away quickly. And it’s still a scar that I’ll carry with me throughout the rest of my life. Check out our top football betting strategies for betting on the Bengals/Titans.

Getting pressure on Tannehill while testing his confidence will be critical. The H&H boys of defensive ends Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard never disappoint in big games. They will need to force Tannehill to process quickly to see if he can make the big plays. If he is forced to throw the ball, look for Bengal safety Jessie Bates to be waiting. Bates picked off his first pass in last year’s game and has Tannehill’s number. This could be a big game for Bates.

Stopping King Henry will be a task.

This is not the same Derrick Henry who the Bengals faced in their last meeting. He had just come off an injury and did not play that well. This season he has looked unstoppable based on his performances in the previous few weeks.

Henry currently leads the NFL in rushing with 1,010 yards. During the month of October, he recorded a 100-plus in every game. Making it more challenging for Henry to run will be another key to winning the game.

Bengal’s D.J. Reader came back last week from injury and could be the solution to limiting Henry’s production. This is a more uncompromising defense than the Titans have faced. Bengal’s defensive coordinator is known for his halftime adjustments, so if Henry does have a solid start, it is a good chance things could change by the second half.

Lineback Germaine Pratt was excellent last week against the run and, along with Logan Wilson, will be called upon to help with the containment on Henry.

The Bengals’ secondary could play a vital role.

If the Bengals can slow Henry up in the running game, Tannehill will be forced to throw but not to the same receiving crew as last year. First-round rookie Treylon Burks returned last week from injury to lead as the top wideout. He is a sturdy playmaker capable of a downfield threat. Keeping him under wraps is a must.

Bengals rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt had 12 tackles, with nine being solo. He has improved with each rep and is lucky to be guided by a veteran secondary. The other cornerback Eli Apple will have to apply the pressure to Burks, Robert Woods, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhrine.

Veteran safeties Vonn Bell and Bates could have a more prominent role, so communication will be critical in forcing the Titans to be one-dimensional.

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Burrow is looking for a repeat performance.ย 

When quarterback Joe Burrow is in the game, the Bengals are never out of it. Even in last year’s competition, when he was sacked nine times, Burrow remained calm and led the Stripes back into the game. Burrow has been on fire in the last two games and has found his rhythm within the offense.

It looks like Burrow’s favorite target receiver Ja’Marr Chase will be back in the lineup. Whether Chase has limited reps or is a decoy, the Titans must account for him and his immense playmaking abilities. Chase could be matched up with a former teammate from LSU if cornerback Kristian Fulton plays.

The Titans like to play cover-one coverage; if they stick with it, Burrow will pay them dearly. Receiver Tee Higgins had an enormous game last week, racking up 148 yards on just nine carries; now add Tyler Boyd, and the Titan’s secondary should struggle to keep the receivers from moving the chains.

The Bengals passed on cornerback Roger McCreary in the draft but will now face him in this Titans secondary. The Stripes must take advantage of a rookie, especially on the boundaries where the Titans struggle to give up plays.

Bengals’ Offensive line vs Titans’ Defensive line

After the previous game with the Titans, the Bengal’s brass revamped the offensive line, especially in the middle. They added Alex Cappa at right guard and rookie Cordell Volson at left guard, but the crown jewel was signing center Ted Karras. Stopping all-pro tackle Jeffery Simmons will be the main job of all three linemen to keep him out of the backfield. Look for Tennessee to test the rookie Volson early and often, so he will need help from Karras.

Running back Joe Mixon will be out, but the Titans should not sleep on the Bengal’s running game. Samaje Perine is multitalented and scored three touchdowns last week. Treyveon Williams and Chris Evans should play more significant roles while looking for their breakout game.

This Titans defensive line has had its share of injuries and may struggle while heading into this competition. With Denico Autry possibly out and Bud Depree with limited reps because of a precious hip injury could find Joe Burrow with all the time he needs to win this game.

Special teams could be called on once again to win the game.

Bengals kicker “Money Mac” Evan McPherson was the big hero last year when he kicked the walked-off field goal against Tennessee to send them to the AFC Divisional title game. McPherson is undoubtedly a weapon, already kicking a 59-yard field goal.

On the other hand, the Titans have former Bengal kicker Randy Bullock who has been somewhat consistent but still struggles with the longer field goals. The Bengals should have an advantage if it comes down to another field goal to win the game.

Field position will matter in this competition, so being able to flip the field will be necessary. New Bengal punter Drue Chrisman made his debut against the Steelers with a 54-yard average with three kicks. He could be exactly what the Stripes need for Burrow to have a favorable field position. Check out the top football betting sites to bet on the Bengals/Titans.

Here are my final thoughts

Burrow will need to get the offensive out to a fast start while taking advantage of a lesser pass rush and banged-up Titan secondary. The Bengal’s defense needs to capitalize on turnovers while not committing any. The winner will get to prove why they belong in the playoff talk, while the loser takes a more challenging road to get there.

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