NOVEMBER 25, 2007
The Bengals are hoping a return to the aggressive mentality of 2005 helps them beat a team they beat in '05 on the road. At 6-4, these Titans are riding much higher and the 3-7 Bengals scraping much lower. But with Tennessee coming into Paul Brown Stadium with a limping, questionable Albert Haynesworth and just six days off a Monday night road defeat in Denver, the Bengals.com roundtable gives the Bengals the edge.
"If Haynesworth plays, the Titans win. That's how disruptive he is," says The Guru, a former top football executive for an NFL team.
"Tennessee has an excellent defense," says The Chief, a personnel director of a team not in the Bengals division. "But we think their skill players are average and their secondary is not as strong as their front seven."
"If Albert Haynesworth is playing, and I hope he's not, he's been unblockable," Palmer said. "Really, if you sit down and watch him, he might not make every single play, but he's not blocked. He's double-teamed. They've got running backs chipping on him. A lot of times when you see a big 340-350-pound guy like that, they get off balance and you can kind of push him out of the way. But the guy gets engaged by the center and then the running back chips him and he'll stay on balance, spin off the center and somehow make the plays. He's having one of the most impressive years I've seen a guy have since I've been in this league."
"It helps, but some of those things don't transfer from right end to left end," Jones said. "He's a guy you can't give up on because he won't quit on a play. Plus, he's a good athlete."
The Bengals believe Houshmandzadeh is going to be OK after he left that game late with a bruised back. His 76 catches not only lead the NFL, but give him 379 for his career and pull him to within eight balls of moving past Darnay Scott into fifth place on the team's all-time receiving list.
"Cincinnati's offense has always had pretty good success against Tennessee's defense," The Chief says. "Ever since (Titans head coach) Jeff Fisher has been there the Bengals got big games from Carl Pickens and Corey Dillon. When they've had the personnel, they've always seemed to find a way to break the big play on them."
"His athleticism is what makes him and he's a guy that is just getting better and better each week," Geathers said.
"It's pretty clear what Tennessee is going to try and do," The Guru says. "Run the ball and keep Carson Palmer off the field. I just think that offense isn't going to be able to keep scoring with Cincinnati."
The game pits the NFL's Nos. 1-3 scorers in Titans kicker Rob Bironas (90 points) and Bengals kicker Shayne Graham (86). One of these guys is going to be the AFC's Pro Bowl kicker. Graham has the better field-goal percentage (21-of-22), but Bironas has more (24-of-26). Also Graham's club-record seven field goals on Nov. 11 in Baltimore came three weeks after Bironas' NFL-record eight in Houston.