Key Matchups: Bengals vs. Falcons

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KEY MATCHUPS
OCTOBER 29, 2006

The Guru (a former NFL football executive) and The Chief (a current personnel director for a team not in the Bengals division) break down Sunday's game with the Falcons and give the edge to Cincinnati in a tight game, in part, because the Bengals ride the momentum from last Sunday's comeback win over Carolina.

The Guru: "Atlanta had a tough game emotionally and physically with Pittsburgh and they're going to have something taken out of them, especially going on the road. Cincinnati's coming off a big win and they've got the ability to run the ball and they're going to have to do that because the way they're going to stop Atlanta's offense is to keep it on the sidelines."

The Chief: "Simple. Carolina is a better team than Atlanta. That was a big win for the Bengals last week because it came against a very good team, and got them back on track. They know they can do it now. And they're getting some people back. It looks like they've weathered the storm."

WHEN THE BENGALS HAVE THE BALL
* center>LT Andrew Whitworth vs. DE Patrick Kerney*

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Whitworth

The 6-5, 270-pound Kerney isn't a speed merchant, which should help Whitworth. Kerney is a lot like the Bengals' Justin Smith in the sense that he's an effort guy who keeps coming. Kerney has good hands and a nice spin move back inside, but Whitworth also has long arms and about 70 pounds on him.

"What the Bengals offensive line has to do is play with the same intensity they played against Carolina," The Chief says. "They played that game like they feared that defense, and that's how you have to play and not have a letdown."

If the Bengals are looking to get their long ball well, this may be the game. The Steelers had four passes of at least 20 yards, as well as a 70-yard touchdown from backup Charlie Batch to Hines Ward.

"I would think Cincinnati would like that matchup," The Guru says. "Hall is a good player, and he's fast. But he's a gambler. You can catch him in a mistake. I think Chad can make some plays there."

"You just don't know what Vick is going to do and he's scary form that point," The Guru says. "But he's just not a high-percentage passer. I know he was 65 percent last week, but he hasn't done that consistently."

What really concerns Bengals defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan is the option game the Falcons installed before they pummeled a proud Tampa Bay unit for 300 yards plus on the ground. This will take a lot of diagnosing and tackling.

"They're a three-headed monster with Vick, Crumpler and Dunn," The Guru says. "The running game didn't hurt the Bengals against the Panthers and they have to get the same kind of effort. Really, the best way to beat them is to possess the ball for 35, 36 minutes and they can do that against them."

Kilmer, the gunner on punt coverage and flyer on kicks may have to do double duty at receiver if there are any nicks, and that could tax him here. He's been taking snaps there the last two weeks of practice after starting the season at safety.

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