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No Blowout Vs. Tampa...


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The Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) at 1pm on Sunday in Paul Brown Stadium. The game will air on Fox.

Out for the game are Jon Fanene (hamstring), Jordan Shipley (concussion) and Roy Williams (strained MCL). Johnathan Joseph has been limited in practice and his availability for this Sunday remains unclear. He is listed as having a bruised forearm. Speculatively, one may surmise that he would start the game if he's able, and perhaps be rested some later in a game that on paper the Bengals should dominate. Well, "on paper" as long as the paper you're looking at is the respective team rosters.

Strictly from a common opponent perspective, Tampa Bay is right there with the Bengals. They beat a Browns team on opening day in Tampa that of course, the Bengals just lost to this past Sunday in Cleveland. The Buccaneers also knocked off Carolina whom the Bengals also beat. Tampa is coming off of a bye week after having been dealt their only loss of the season by yet another AFC North opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in a demoralizing rout that found the Bucs on the wrong end of 38-13 mud hole stomping.

With yet another fleeting NFL season in full swing entering it's second month, the Bengals find themselves at a compelling crossroads heading into this Sunday's contest. The injury report is brimming with key players and the Bengals have managed a hard fought .500 record in spite of having yet to click on all cylinders. The defense paved the way to wins vs. the Ravens and Panthers while the offense seemed stuck in reverse, killing itself with pre-snap penalties and inconsistent execution. In the two losses the offense appeared, at least at times, to resemble the high powered group that Bengal fans and many pundits alike, expected to see in 2010 but still came up short in losses to the Patriots and Browns.

Tampa comes into Cincinnati ranked 26th in total offense and 20th in total defense while the Bengals are top ten in both categories. Those numbers along with the club's won-loss records seem to suggest that this is a match up featuring on the one hand, a talented but thus far underachieving and inconsistent Bengals squad and an overachieving, rebuilding Buccaneers team. Aspiring to being Super Bowl contenders as the Bengals are, this game offers yet another chance for them to state their case in that regard. As yet, they have made no such statement looking unimpressive in their victories and not as good as advertised in their losses.

Super Bowl caliber teams shouldn't get blown out, even in New England. Nor should they lose a close one to a scrappy but clearly inferior division rival. However, in a "what did you do this past Sunday" league, they can make believers again of a good many observers by whipping a team that most expect to be picking top five in next Aprils draft.

I see this going the Bengals way but with the injuries on defense it probably won't be the blowout some may tend to expect......Bengals 27, Buccaneers 17.

*Disclaimer: This is an article from another site but I am the author so all is good with regard to the stickied notice on the front page.:)

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