Chances are, the Bengals won’t win many games this season. However, looking at this what-if scenario is still important. If the Bengals win, this may create a momentum shift in this team’s favor. The Bengals need to master one thing in this game, stop the run! If Cincinnati’s defense can at least slow down Dalvin Cook, that would give the team a good chance of winning by putting Kirk Cousins’ pressure to deliver. Sure, Cousins has Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen as reliable pass catchers but Cousins tends to be inconsistent. Welcome to the Rumble in the Jungle.
The Bengals offense will put up points in bunches even if quarterback Joe Burrow needs to get rid of the ball quickly. Burrow needs to prove he can bounce back from the season-ending injury he suffered last season. It’s also interesting to see if Burrow and rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase will have that LSU chemistry once again. If these two get on the same page early, the Vikings defense will have a lot to worry about. They already have to contain Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, which is a tough task to begin with. Will running back Joe Mixon get off to a hot start too? So, are we ready to rumble?
Four keys to victory for the Bengals:
1. Contain Cook- Don’t let the Vikings get over 100 rushing yards and more than two touchdowns.
2. Hold the line- The offensive line needs to improve the pass blocking. If Burrow has adequate time to read the defense, then there is already much-needed improvement.
3. Force the Vikings defense to react- The Bengals offense has so many ways to score. Burrow doesn’t need to force passes. It’s ok to nickel and dime early and often to get the momentum going. Don’t force unnecessary deep passes.
4. Let the running game set the tone- Let Mixon take some pressure off for the first two plays before turning to the passing game. Mix it up and don’t rely too heavily on the passing game to win. Make the Vikings defense think a bit and second guess the Bengals offensive play calling.