While Denver has been on a hot streak as of late, Cincinnati is just the opposite; losing their last three and dropping from a stellar 3-1 start to an average 3-4. Peyton Manning is mimicking what he did in Indianapolis, boasting the highest quarterback rating in the league at 109.0. His Broncos lead the AFC West and look almost unchallenged from this point forward; playing host to the easiest schedule from this point forward. For Cincinnati, things will only get tougher. They still play Baltimore and Pittsburgh one more time along with Dallas, New York (Giants), Philadelphia, San Diego, and these Denver Broncos. Talk about rough! A win against a good team here could work wonders for the Bengals, however that is easier said than done. Peyton Manning will continue his incredible comeback year while making a case for his fifth MVP in a victory in Ohio this weekend.
Peyton Manning has never lost to the Cincinnati Bengals. He is 7-0 in his career against the cardiac cats. All time, Manning has posted an astounding 17 TDs against only 3 INTs in these games. His teams have averaged 33.5 points/game against the Bengals, and have scored at least 23 in all of the games. I know, I know, all of these stats were from when he was with the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos are a very different team. However, Peyton Manning has not shown much of a difference in his performance while wearing orange as opposed to the blue we have all become accustomed to seeing this man don on Sundays. At times this year he has looked almost identical to what he once did in Indy. For that, I have reason to believe that he will look the same as he always did in Cincinnati this Sunday as he picks apart the 16th ranked pass defense in the league.
Besides the Manning effect, there are other things that the Broncos have been doing well this year. For instance, they have been running the ball very well. Willis McGahee has shown that with age comes experience. The 31 year old tail-back is on pace to put up his best numbers since 2007 when he was with the Ravens. Ronnie Hillman does an excellent job spelling Willis as well. He is very young and has a lot of growing to do, but has rushed for 4.4 yards/attempt this season on his 31 carries. I expect to see some more from this youngster as the season moves forward. As for wide receivers, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are turning into the best 1-2 punch at their position in the league. Together they have combined for 77 catches, 1163 yards, and 9 TDs. Other guys such as Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, and Brandon Stokley are helping out in the passing game for Denver. This team looks very good on offense and their defense is playing extremely well right now, as I pointed out my previous blog (the Saints & Broncos post game breakdown). The Broncos look like they are going to be tough to beat as we move into the second half of the season.
All I have done is praise the Broncos thus far, but I think that may be the only argument I need. Denver is playing very well on both sides of the ball. The Bengals are still struggling to get the running game going. AJ Green is having a spectacular year. Unfortunately it will not be enough this weekend against the Broncos. I like the Broncos to get back to pounding the ball on the ground and having Peyton Manning read the defense, which he is so great at doing.
Denver 31, Cincinnati 20