This is a Fort Thomas and surrounding area blog. As such, we try to keep things pretty close to home. But when their is a hurricane brewing on the coast, our local news covers it pretty extensively because it's a pretty rare occurrence.
In that same vein, I had to take advantage of this opportunity and document this event because as the Who Dey faithful know, this doesn’t happen very often. Hurricane Dalton is upon us. The Bengals hold their fate in their own hands and with a tenth win on Sunday they will be playoff bound.
Cincinnati takes on the Baltimore Ravens at 4:15 on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium and after some creative marketing by the Bengals the game was deemed a sell out. For the second time all season a home game will be on local TV. The creative marketing I speak of is the “buy one get one” technique with ticket sales to get people to open their wallets and pack the seats of the stadium.
The last time these two teams met it was the Ravens who prevailed with a 31-24 win over the Bengals. It was the Bengals 10th game in week 11 and while Andy Dalton did have a prolific passing game with 373 yards, he had some very detrimental interceptions that put the orange &black in a hole from which they could not climb out.
Since November 20th there has been 5 games; while the Bengals looked good against those teams going 3-2, the team they’ll face on Sunday is a completely different animal. To have any chance of winning Andy Dalton needs to clean up his passing game and limit any and all mistakes; when playing a defense like the Ravens any mishap can be costly if not disastrous.
One of the main differences between the week 11 game versus the Ravens and the game on Sunday will undoubtedly be the addition of middle linebacker Ray Lewis who sat out the earlier game with a toe injury. Ray will be back in the middle, and looking to disrupt any and all offensive attempts that the Bengals have.
The Bengals have a one game lead over the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and the New York Jets for the AFC’s final playoff berth. The coveted tenth win will seal it and the Bengals will be in; the Ravens situation is very different. The Baltimore Ravens already secured their place in the playoffs and are now playing for a bye and home field advantage. The Ravens are unbeaten at home and have a 3-4 record on the road, so a bye and home field advantage is quite an incentive.
The Bengals have exceeded everyone’s expectations this season with such a young team, and the lack of an off season. To be playing such an important game on January 1st is an accomplishment by itself, but a victory would do so much for this team. The importance of a tenth win include: playoff berth, respect from the AFC, a changed perspective from the local fans. I may be naïve but it feels like the Cincinnati Bengals are on the brink of something special and a win on New Year’s Day could be the first notable success of an up and coming team.