NFL Betting Wild Card: Players Who Will Shine for the Bengals
As the Cincinnati Bengals prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL betting playoffs for just second time (and just the first time since 2005), let’s take a look at some of the key players who we expect to take the field for the home team. These are the names that you will hear from the announcers when big plays take place — if things are going well for the Bengals.
NFL Betting Wild Card: Players Who Will Shine for the Cincinnati Bengals
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 4, 2016
Dunlap has had a terrific season, leading the Bengals with 13.5 sacks. In fact, since the NFL began tracking sacks as a statistic, no Bengal has ever had that many sacks in a season. Expect him to be the forefront of an attack that terrorizes Big Ben, who is still suffering from the lingering effects of a couple of different lower-body injuries.
The Bengals have not officially named a starter for the wild card game, but the presumption is that Dalton will return to lead the offense in the postseason, after three weeks off to recover from his thumb injury. The reputation that Dalton has built over time has been that he is soft in the postseason — and in most high-stakes games — but he has shed that moniker this season, winning big games in prime time and crunch time.
If Dalton can’t go, for whatever reason, it will be A.J. McCarron leading the Bengal attack. He has not done poorly at all as the quarterback, leading Cincinnati to a 2-1 mark in his three starts, throwing for six scores and 832 yards through the air, while throwing no interceptions. It was his gaffe that turned the tide in overtime against Denver, but that isn’t a bad body of work for a young backup making his first extended appearances.
A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones
At tight end, Tyler Eifert has combined with wide receivers A.J. Green and Marvin Jones to make the Bengal attack one of the more fearsome in the AFC. The Pittsburgh Steelers do not have a credible playoff secondary, at least based on their performance so far this season. If the Steelers cannot manage much of a pass rush, these three will run rampant — and it will be important for Dalton or McCarron to find them accurately, as the Steelers are much tougher against the run than they are against the pass.
Vincent Rey and Adam Jones
Rey (at linebacker) and Jones (at defensive back) will be key in halting the offensive momentum of the Pittsburgh Steeler attack. Rey’s job will be to help the defensive line bottle up DeAngelo Williams, who ran all over the Bengals in Week 14, and Jones’ job will be to stifle a passing game that can become spectacular when Big Ben is on his game. If you look at Roethlisberger’s performance against the Browns in Week 17, you saw both sides of his game, as he threw for 379 yards and three scores — but also threw two baffling picks that helped to keep the Browns in the game.