The NFL Playoffs continue with two more Wildcard games. The early game features Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals vs Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Neither game from Saturday’s action gave us a fantastic finish, or any nail-biting moments. Hopefully, we’ll get that today. Starting with this matchup. But, that will be a tough task for Cincy without A. J. Green. Let’s take a look at this matchup in another edition of 5 Questions 5 Answers.
Q1: Who steps up for the Bengals at wide receiver in the absence of A.J. Green, and can they be successful without him?
A: Mohamed Sanu, had his moments when Green was injured early in the season. But, due to some injuries of his own, his contributions have fallen off as of late. Still, he’s probably the only threat that Dalton has to rely on. Especially, with Jermaine Gresham listed as questionable if he’ll play or not. It’s going to be a tall order for the Bengals offense to get any traction. Thankfully, they do have a nice running game to lean on.
Q2: What do the Bengals have to do to get their first win since this current ‘Geico’ guy did his ‘shuffling’ on the sidelines in 1991?
A: First of all, Jeremy Hill, and Giovani Bernard have to have big days. Hill, has been huge for the Bengals in his rookie season. The former LSU Tiger, has gained over 1,100 yards in only 8 starts. The good thing about the Hill and Bernard combo, is that they complement each other well. Hill is between the tackles guy that has a burst once he gets in the open field. Bernard, is smaller and great catching the ball out of the backfield. The Bengals must also find ways to get pressure on Andrew Luck. The Colts offense has not been as potent lately, mostly due to the lack of a running game. The Bengals have to take advantage and make the Colts even more of a one-dimensional team. It’s still a tall order for Cincy to pull out their first playoff win since Andy Dalton was 3 years old. Ouch!
Q3: Is Andrew Luck ready to shoulder the load and lead the Colts to a long playoff run?
A: Luck looks ready for the challenge. He just doesn’t have enough help. The Colts were looked as one of the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl before the season started. But, that took a big hit when Robert Mathis went down to injury before the season. The defense has actually been better than I thought it would be. But, they’re probably not good enough to get the job done against Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or even Joe Flacco. The running game is also a problem. Andrew Luck, is one of the top 4 QB’s in the league, and more than capable. The rest of the Colts, as a whole, aren’t.
Q4: Who has the most pressure on them to win? Andy Dalton or Marvin Lewis?
A: Both. Ultimately, Lewis has more pressure since he’s the coach. But, while Lewis is 0-5 in playoff games, Dalton is 0-3. To make matters worse for Dalton, he’s been terrible in those losses. Simply put, both of these guys need a win in the worst way, or they both could be packing their bags and finding a new team next season.
Q5: How much of an impact will the regular season meeting between these two teams, a 27-0 Colts beatdown over the Bengals, have on this game?
A: Little to none. At least in the minds of a couple of Colts defenders, that is. Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said; “Whatever happened in that game, you have to completely wipe it out. They’re a completely different ballclub right now.” Defensive lineman Cory Redding echoed those comments. “That’s how many weeks ago? I don’t pay attention or look at that stuff. What we did in the past is in the past.” Words of wisdom from both. But, neither of them knew at the time that A.J. Green would be inactive. Just as he was in the first meeting. Green’s absence had a big impact on the first meeting. Hopefully, that won’t be so for this Wildcard matchup. Us fans like close exciting games. Especially, in the playoffs!