This Sunday the Dallas Cowboys head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in an important game with playoff implications for both teams. The game will be at 1:00 pm eastern and will be shown on FOX.
Why you should watch: The Bengals have quietly become one of the more explosive offenses in the NFL, and their defense is underrated as well. The Cowboys come in having won 3 out of their last 4 and are hoping to build momentum to get into the playoffs. Cincy needs to keep its winning ways up in order to grab an AFC wild card spot, as the Ravens have all but secured the AFC North division. Dallas will be hoping to be able to take their minds off of what transpired this Saturday, as lineman Josh Brent and practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown were involved in an accident in which Brent was driving intoxicated and which resulted in Brown’s unfortunate, untimely death. The tragedy will certainly be weighing heavily on both teams, but especially Dallas.
What to watch for: Other than Dallas hoping to overcome the emotional ordeal they will have to, they will have to square off against one of the most underrated and unheralded defenses in the NFL. The Bengals have not given up more than 13 points in their last four games, and are on a 4 game winning streak. Their defensive line has come up huge in their last few games, getting consistent pressure and stunting the run game. If Dallas’ offensive line does not show up tomorrow, Tony Romo will see a lot of the ground. Their secondary is also consistent and has helped the defense rank 11th in the league in passing yards.
Key Matchups: A.J. Green has been an absolute nightmare to defend this season, and simply has not faced his match this year. In just his second season in the NFL, he already is leading the league in receiving touchdowns this season with 10, and ranks in the top 6 in receptions, receiving yards, and yards per game. The key matchup in this game will be Green against the Dallas secondary. So far, no one has been able to stop him, and Dallas will be hard-pressed to do the same. They have the personnel to challenge him with Brandon Carr, but Green can use his size and speed to make plays no one not named Calvin Johnson can.
The Pick: I think the Bengals will come away with the victory in this one. It will be hard to see Dallas overcoming the tragedy that took place Saturday, and they will not have the same fan support the Kansas City Chiefs did when they won last week after Jovan Belcher’s death. A.J. Green will take over this game, and the Bengals defense will be able to hold Dallas’s offense in check. I’ve got the Bengals, 25-14.