NOVEMBER 18, 2007
The Bengals.com roundtable isn't laughing off Sunday's win in Baltimore and is giving the Bengals the edge to take this Sunday's home game. But it resolves the Cardinals can't be lightly regarded because of their offensive weapons, sound defense and new coaching staff.
"The Bengals are going to have show up and play. It won't be easy," says The Guru, a former top football executive in the NFL. "But they're coming off a big division win on the road, they're home, and they're getting some people healthy."
The Chief, a personnel director for a club not in the Bengals division, thinks the Cards have an edge because of new coach Ken Whisenhunt's familiarity with the Bengals. But he says if Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson (heel) can't play on top of the season-ending loss to pass rusher Bertrand Berry, the Cards can't overcome it.
"Those are significant losses. It takes them down a notch," says The Chief, and that was before anyone knew Eric Green sprained his ankle in Thursday's practice.
"I think Carson Palmer is having a good year. He looks comfortable and he did a real good job in Baltimore just managing the game and not making any mistakes against a very good defense," The Guru says. "That's not easy to do on the road."
Wilson has been better in pass coverage this season, but he's known as a big-time blitzer and very active in the running game. If Wilson can't play and the Cards decide not to keep the eighth man in the box to help the secondary, the Bengals have to finally prove they can run it against seven men.
The Cards have been pretty stingy through the air, allowing just 11 touchdown passes. But they've also played some brutal pass offenses in the Niners, Ravens, Panthers and Redskins.
(Quick fact: In Warner's only start against the Bengals in 1999, he had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 on 17-of-21 for 310 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks.)
"You have to concentrate on one guy at a time because you can't beat both at the same time," Geathers said. "You've got to pick an edge and go."
"It will help to have Thornton back," The Guru says after he missed the last two games with a neck stinger. "He's underrated. He's a reliable guy who always seems to be in the right spot."
Two of Boldin's nine third-down catches have been for touchdowns. Hall is looking for an interception in his third straight game.
The good news is that the DBs didn't give up anything big against Baltimore last week. The bad news is that nobody does against the Ravens. Still, the secondary had a hand in three turnovers and was in on 27 tackles. That's the kind of physical play the Bengals will need against Arizona's big wideouts.
Rackers' good friend, Graham, leads the NFL with 95 percent accuracy on 19 of 20 field-goal tries.