SEPTEMBER 21, 2008
The Giants haven't missed a beat since winning it all and the twice-beaten Bengals have to begin it all by winning against the Giants in Jersey.
The Bengals are big underdogs in Vegas and around the Bengals.com roundtable that doesn't like the matchup of a struggling offense going on the road to play a premier defense.
"The Giants aren't a juggernaut. They've got a good offense, but they're not Philly or Dallas," says The Guru a former top NFL exec. "Any time you've got Carson Palmer and those two receivers you've got a chance. But if they play like they did last Sunday, they've got no chance."
The Scout, a pro scout who works a couple of pro leagues, sees no resemblance from the team he saw at Georgetown last month to this one.
"When I saw them practice with all the one-on-one stuff at camp, their agenda was pointed to building a tough team and looking to grind it out," The Scout says. "And it looks like that's not there and that's become an issue. This game is pretty simple for them. It boils down to what they do on both lines. It looks like a 28-17 kind of game, but I still like the Bengals' talent. They're in a situation where they're playing with no confidence on offense and that's tough against a defense like the Giants have."
"It looks so bad that even Carson Palmer no longer looks good," The Guru says. "That's hard to do. They have to make him comfortable back there. I don't think he's jittery, but they've got to do some things that make it easier for him.
Kelly becomes even more important because with the loss of Ben Utecht, the Bengals are very inexperienced at tight end and fullback. Dan Coats, heading into his third game as a fullback, may have to switch back to tight end much of the time and that would promote Reagn Maui'a off the inactive list for his first Bengals action since getting picked up off waivers just before the opener from Miami, where he played in every game as a rookie.
The stats say it's a tough matchup for the No. 23 running team against the fifth-best run defense.
"If you can handle the pass rush, you should be able to make some things happen in the secondary," The Scout says. "You've got to give Carson some quick throws to the backs and tight ends, but if you give him time, it's a good matchup for the Bengals receivers in the secondary."
The Scout: "This is where a team has to make a call when they cut a guy like O'Neal who doesn't have much of an upside. If you go with the young kids, they have to play some time. How do they get experience? I liked David Jones when I saw him at camp and obviously the Giants saw something in a guy like Pope. He runs a 4.3 and is a guy that could help you."
That's another foible, missed tackles, that have plagued the Bengals early this season.
"Somebody has to make a play for these guys that gets them going, that get them out of the rut," The Scout says. "And a lot of times it doesn't come from who you think. Good teams have a way of finding guys to do that. Not Chad, T.J., or Carson. But say a guy like David Jones going all the way with an interception or Chatman or Holt taking one to the house. That's what they need."