Can the Cincinnati Bengals go into Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday and beat a team that whipped them 27-0 the last time they met? That’s the big question. Certainly past results are no indication of future performance and the Bengals have made some significant changes since that initial meeting earlier in the season.
For the Bengals this will be all about getting some offensive momentum, running the ball with Jeremy Hill and getting Andy Dalton some pressure free looks down the field. For those living in the past it’s probably time to forget the 32 yards rushing Cincinnati generated against a Colts defense that defies predictability.
Perhaps more importantly, the Bengals defense must contain a slippery Andrew Luck, who seems to be able to generate uncanny comebacks when all seems lost. Luck put together a good performance the last time these teams met, throwing for 2 touchdowns and over 300 yards. Dalton isn’t banking on a repeat of that game but does seem to be looking forward to the matchup. “We have a lot of respect for what they do,” Luck said of Cincinnati, “They do a lot and they do it well. … These guys do everything and do it with confidence and competence. It’s a fun team to play.”
If Cincinnati, who come into this thing after losing to Pittsburgh in an AFC North showdown, want to counter that Luck Magic, they’ll have to find a way to get some pressure on him. Which opens up more issues. Luck has some mobility. Pure pressure is good, but when Luck gets out of the pocket he can make plays, the kind of plays that spark an offense. Without a strong and disciplined rush that contains Andrew Luck, Cincinnati will give up some big plays.
For their part, the Colts are facing a mixed bag defense. They give up yards but they also have a knack for the ball, picking off 20 passes this season.Eric Drouant