Coming off a thrilling 27-17 win against the Miami Dolphins in week five, many believed the Bengals would be ahead of the pack in the AFC playoff picture.
Now, staring at a 5-6 record and in third place in the AFC North, the Bengals are running out of time to turn their season around.
Although the roster has been ravaged by injury, there is still opportunity for new starting quarterback Jeff Driskel and the Bengals to control their own destiny to jump back into the playoff race. It all starts on Sunday hosting the Denver Broncos at 1 p.m.
Tickets: Tickets may be purchased by calling the Bengals Ticket Hotline at (513) 621-8383, online at Bengals.com or by visiting the Paul Brown Stadium ticket office.
The Bengals Ticket Hotline and ticket office will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. through the second quarter. Tickets may be purchased 24/7 through Bengals.com.
Fans who purchase individual game tickets on Bengals.com or the Official Bengals app will not be subject to additional processing fees when choosing mobile tickets as the delivery option. Fans can call the Bengals Ticket Hotline or chat with a ticket representative online if they have any questions.
Here are the three things to watch:
1. The Jeff Driskel Show – All eyes will be on Driskel who will be making his first career start Sunday.
How Driskel runs the offense and what adjustments he makes in-game will be intriguing. He will have to deal with the Broncos' outside linebackers, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who may be the league's best pass-rushing duo with 19.5 combined sacks.
Denver's secondary is beatable allowing 266.2 yards per game. The Steelers passed for 462 yards last week and the week before the Chargers recorded 401 yards through the air. Coupled with the return of star wide receiver A.J. Green, the big play potential is there.
2. Hot Start – During the Bengals' three-game losing skid, the opponent has scored first in all three games and out-scored the Bengals 76-21 in the first half.
The early game deficits have affected the play calling and put more stress on the Bengals' pass protection. Complicating matters is Broncos' outside linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb may be the league's best pass-rushing duo with 19.5 combined sacks.
Denver's secondary is beatable allowing 266.2 yards per game. The Steelers passed for 462 yards last week and the week before the Chargers recorded 401 yards through the air.
3. Pressure Makes The Pipe Burst – Cincinnati's defense this season plays its best when generating pressure on the quarterback. Out of the team's 24 sacks on the season, 18 of them have come in the five victories. Denver meanwhile has allowed 26 sacks this season with nine in the previous four contests.
Twelve weeks into the season, DT Geno Atkins, who has seven sacks, ranks tied for second in the NFL in sacks by an interior defensive lineman. Atkins trails only Rams DT Aaron Donald, who leads all players with 14.5 sacks, and is tied with San Francisco DT DeForest Buckner and New Orleans DT Sheldon Rankins at seven sacks.
Throughout his nine-year Bengals career, DE Carlos Dunlap has earned a reputation for making big plays in key moments. This season has been no different. Dunlap, who has seven sacks so far this season, has made critical plays all year that played central roles in Bengals wins.
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.
Television: The game will air on CBS. In the Bengals' home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Spero Dedes (play-by-play) and Adam Archuleta (analyst).
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).