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Ludwig Sees Bengal Victory


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From Dayton Daily News.

Cowboys (3-4) at Bengals (2-5)

1 p.m./Paul Brown Stadium

By Chick Ludwig

Dayton Daily News

What you need to know about today's Bengals-Cowboys game in Cincinnati:

The Bengals (2-5), coming off a 27-20 loss at Tennessee, hope history can repeat itself. Since 1993, they have a 15-7 home record (.682) against NFC teams, including three straight wins — New Orleans (20-13) in 2002 and Seattle (27-24) and San Francisco (41-38) in 2003. A victory will give the Bengals a 3-5 record at the season's midway point, the same as 2003. Dallas (3-4) beat visiting Detroit, 31-21, last week, but has struggled (1-2) on the road.

Scouting the Bengals

Cincinnati placed extra emphasis on running the ball and stopping the run in practice after gaining just 57 on the ground while getting torched by the Titans for 163 rushing yards. The defense is struggling, so it's up to the offense — especially QB Carson Palmer, TB Rudi Johnson and WR Chad Johnson — to sustain drives, score points and keep the defense off the field.

Scouting the Cowboys

Fans will be treated to a fast, aggressive, yet vulnerable defense that includes FS Roy Williams. "When he came out in the draft (2002)," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said, "I made the statement: 'If you had him, you could play with 10.' He's lived up to that in my opinion. He's a fine, fine player." The offense is led by 41-year-old QB Vinny Testaverde, TB Eddie George, WR Keyshawn Johnson and TE Jason Witten. Johnson will get plenty of chances because Terry Glenn (sprained foot) is out for the year and Quincy Morgan has a strained hamstring. Three other receivers — Terrance Copper, Patrick Crayton and Randal Williams — have combined for one career catch.

Key matchup

Bengals LG Eric Steinbach vs. Cowboys DT La'Roi Glover. For the Bengals to be able to run and throw effectively, Steinbach must contain Glover, the strong, lightning-quick defensive tackle.

Darts and flowers

Darts to Bengals rookie RB Chris Perry for his training camp holdout and series of injuries that have kept him off the field, and to Cowboys WR Keyshawn Johnson for his motor mouth. ... Flowers to Bengals LB Brian Simmons for being a stand-up guy and not hiding from the media in the face of adversity, and to Cowboys LB Dexter Coakley for his sustained excellence despite his size (5-10, 231).

Key stats

The Bengals trail the series, 5-3, but lead 2-1 as the home team. The winning team has scored more than 30 points in six of the eight meetings. The game marks the Cowboys' first visit to PBS. All three previous Cincinnati meetings were at Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field, with the Bengals winning 50-24 in 1985 and 31-24 in '97, and losing a 23-20 thriller in '94 in QB Jeff Blake's memorable first Bengals start.

Injury report

Bengals &mdash WR Peter Warrick (shin) is out; CB Rashad Bauman (Achilles) and DE Carl Powell (knee) are doubtful; OT Willie Anderson (knee) and DT Terrance Martin (finger) are questionable; Cowboys &mdash RB Julius Jones (shoulder) is out; WR Quincy Morgan (hamstring) and CB Tyrone Williams (hamstring) are questionable.


The Bengals have a golden opportunity because Dallas has trouble running the ball and its wide receiver corps is depleted. The Bengals won't be intimidated by the aura and mystique of "America's Team." It's time to rebound and rally. The final: Bengals 27, Cowboys 24.

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