The Bengals welcome the Cowboys to Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday for week 14 NFL action. This game is an important one for both teams, as they are both fighting for a playoff spot in their respective conferences. It also poses, arguably, the toughest matchup for the Bengals since their four game win streak began against the New York Giants.
The Dallas Cowboys are entering the game with a 6-6 record and have won three of their last four matchups. In those wins, they outscored opponents by mere 99-76. All of their games have been tight, but Dallas has been able to dominate in the fourth quarter, outscoring teams 59-22 in the final quarter in their previous three wins.
This means, even if the Bengals get up early, they will not be able to slow down on defense. Cincinnati will have to find a way to stop Tony Romo throughout the game, as well. He is unlike the other quarterbacks they have played. Romo has thrown for 1266 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions in the Cowboys’ last four games. Opposed to Palmer who threw for a lot of yards, but his interceptions outnumbered his touchdowns and Eli Manning, who was already struggling coming into the matchup with the Bengals.
What the Bengals do have on their side, though, is an emerging defense and powerful offensive attack. Dallas will be facing their own set of problems with Cincinnati on both sides of the ball. In the Bengals recent four game win streak, the defense has collected 16 sacks, 24 quarterback hits, and four interceptions. They have allowed opposing teams to average just 279 yards a game and only a total of 42 points in their past four games.
Another interesting stat in the Bengals favor, is since their win over their division rivals the New York Giants in week one, the Cowboys have not been on the winning end of any game against a team with a winning record. All of their wins have come against teams that are down in the standings and their last three wins coming from two games against the Philadelphia Eagles and one game against the Cleveland Browns that played into overtime.
The Bengals have had a tough go at teams with winning records too. However, they were able to trample the Giants team that was 5-3 at the time of their matchup in Cincinnati. Now the Bengals are sitting at 7-5 and riding the wave of a surging running game.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis has rushed for three consecutive 100+ yards games. This has been a feat for the team, as before the previous three games, the running back only averaged 69 yards per game. It is also the only time a Bengals rusher has reached the centennial mark three games in a row since Corey Dillon did it in 1999.
This game features various pluses and minuses for both teams and both are very hungry. For Cincinnati the win will mean much more than a W. It will be a big confidence booster and stepping stone for the final three games on the schedule.
If the Bengals can pull off the win on Sunday, they will head to Philadelphia to face a struggling Eagles squad on Thursday night. They will then stay in Pennsylvania to take on the Steelers in Heinz Field, who will have a tender quarterback under center. Then they will come home to close out the season against the Baltimore Ravens. A win Sunday would mean an easier battle for the final playoff spot and will place their destiny in their own hands.