COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – With the Cleveland Browns on their scheduled bye week, all Ohio eyes are on the Cincinnati Bengals, who desperately need a win against the equally struggling Arizona Cardinals.
Here are the keys to the game for Week 5:
Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) at Arizona Cardinals (1-3)
Sunday, Oct. 8 at State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ, 4:05 p.m.
Hey J_e, where’s the ‘O’?: The Bengals offense has been shockingly scarce through the first month of the season. Much of this can be attributed to the calf injury that has hampered the mobility of Joe Burrow, who ranks last amongst all starting QBs averaging 4.8 yards per pass. The Bengals also rank last in yards gained (944), second worst in rushing yards (280) and have scored the fewest touchdowns (three) in the league this season.
That trend simply cannot continue if Cincinnati is to get back into the AFC North fold, especially with either Baltimore or Pittsburgh losing this weekend. The Cardinals have allowed the second most first downs (103), including 53 through the air, and own third worst third-down conversion rate on defense this season.
Offense isn’t the only issue: The Bengals run defense hasn’t helped either. It’s allowing the second most yards per game (157.0) through four games and saw Derek Henry, who was off to his own slow start, rumble for 122 yards on 22 carries (5.5 yards-per-carry). Henry even threw a touchdown pass against a Bengals defense that missed 12 tackles and allowed 17 red-zone points to the Titans’ vanilla offense. Despite Arizona’s struggles, RB James Connor has been a steady force, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and ranks third in the NFL with 318 yards.
Line: 3. O/U: 44 1/2.
Prediction: Burrow, no longer on the injury report, guts out a 26-23 win.