The Cincinnati Bengals had a light work out on Monday and will practice today, after getting sometime to heal and regroup. Their late season bye come at the right time, gave several of their injured players a few days to heal and get back on to the field. Goodness they needed it and as fans we all needed the bye week to rest our hearts.
Right now the team is in control of the AFC North, with a favorable schedule down the stretch run. The Bengals have three of their last five games at home, where at PBS they haven’t lost there so far this season (5-0). Only one team in the final five games of the season have a winning record, that will be the Indianapolis Colts (7-4), who will come to Cincinnati next weekend in a crucial game for playoff seedings and tiebreaker.
They are tied with the Colts for the fourth best record in the AFC. Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs are 9-2, New England Patriots 8-3. They lead the north by two games over the surging Pittsburgh Steelers and the up and down defending Super Bowl Champions Baltimore Ravens, who both play each other tomorrow night in Baltimore, in a basically AFC North elimination game.
Another positive the bye week had for this team is the traveling process. They got some much needed time to rest for their last long road trip of the season, playing this Sunday in San Diego. The Chargers at 5-6, are in one group of six teams tied for the final AFC playoff spot, and are coming off a huge win against the Cheifs in Kansas City on Sunday.
The Bengals entered the bye week with a number of players, who are banged up with injuries. MLB Rey Maualuga missed the last three games with a concussion and a knee injury, he was back on the practice fields on Monday.
Maualuga’s backup Vincent Rey has done an exceptional job while Rey was out, except him to still have a immediate impact, even with Maualuga coming back.
The bye comes at a good time for Quarterback Andy Dalton. He has thrown eight interceptions in the last three games, two of them returned for a touchdown.
During the team 41-20 romp over the Cleveland Browns heading into the bye, Dalton threw a pair of picks in the first quarter that helped the Browns jump in front 13-0. CB Joe Haden was the one, who had both picks, returning the 2nd for a touchdown.
Luckily for him the defense and special teams each scored a touchdown during a 31- point 2nd quarter that put the game out of reach.
Some of Dalton’s picks have been the result of off target throws and poor decisions. The offense has struggled to convert third downs, and the running game and pass protection have been inconsistent, causing the offense to decline in production.
We are now officially in playoff mode now buckle up!