DECEMBER 7, 2008
The orders keep getting taller for the Bengals as this season gets longer. Now this Sunday in the Colts' new paddock they must stop a Hall of Fame quarterback with a secondary full of yearlings. Memo from the Bengals.com roundtable:
"If the Bengals only have the ball for 21 minutes like they did last week," says The Guru, a former top football executive in the NFL, "they're going to get blown out."
The Eye, an NFL scout familiar with personnel in both conferences, offers, "The Colts don't make mistakes on offense and the Bengals have to take advantage of their size matchup against the Indy defense."
This is not a typical Tony Dungy Colts club. In fact, it may be more like one of his Tampa Bay teams from the late '90s with defense coming to the rescue at key times. But don't let that defensive touchdown win in Cleveland last week fool you.
It was quarterback Peyton Manning's worst game in a five-week winning streak that has still been pretty impressive in which Manning has thrown nine touchdowns and three picks, two of them last week.
"That's what has to be the scary thing for the Bengals," The Eye says. "I don't know how often he has two bad games in a row. He's over his knee problem from the beginning of the year. He's looking good in the pocket."
Plus, the Colts are going to be back on their fast track indoors after the miserable afternoon on The Lake.
"The Colts are a little different team than they have been," The Guru says. "They're not as dynamic. They struggle running the ball. But they're still a good team with Peyton calling the shots and an opportunistic defense. And they're tough at home."
They've been tough anywhere. In the last 10 seasons, the Colts have lost just 46 times in a stretch they are 4-0 against the Bengals and 3-0 in Indy. Manning is 5-0 against Cincinnati in his career and so is his head coach.