Kevin A. is back talking Bengals football, and the Browns are coming to town to play the undefeated cats. This week's questions come from Marco Scola in Chicago. You can check out all of Marco's sports insights and podcasts at MarcoScolaMedia.com
A recent article on the players tribune website says the Bengals are the most cohesive team in the league. Do you agree?
It's a hard thing to quantify. The Bengals have been together a long time and Marvin Lewis has been the coach for 13 years, but its more than that. Andy Dalton has really embraced his leadership role, and it showed during Sunday's win over the Steelers. Players are constantly referring to Dalton when they talk of what's changed with the team, and its not just rah-rah talk. Andy truly has the players believing they can win every game. As far as most cohesive, I believe New England still owns that one.
On Tuesdays podcast, I said the Bengals were the #2 team in the league behind the Patriots, but I questioned if they can get past New England. Are you on board with a Pats/Bengals AFC title game, and if so, do you take the Bengals?
Well lets slow down a bit. The Bengals are very good but the fan in me still thinks they can blow this entire thing. However I do agree they are the two best teams in the AFC, and also believe the Bengals overall posess more talent than the Patriots. What the Bengals do not have is Tom Brady directing the ship. While I think the Bengals are a threat to the Patriots should both teams get there, I'm not sure they can win that game quite yet. It's not impossible, but we need to see how Dalton plays down the stretch.
Of the remaining undefeated teams, would you say the Bengals have had the toughest schedule?
The Patriots seemingly have had it pretty easy so far. They got the Steelers without Le'Veon Bell and the rest is rather vanilla to date. The Bengals have an impressive win at Oakland and came back to beat Seattle and Pittsburgh with fourth quarter comebacks, but I think the Broncos have had it as tough as Cincinnati with wins over Oakland, Minnesota and Green Bay. I'll call it a push with Denver and Cincinnati, mainly because Denver is doing it with a rubber arm and defense. Going forward however, the Bengals still need to play at Denver and Arizona, with another tilt against Pittsburgh coming up as well, which should be very interesting considering the bad blood brewing between those two teams.
The Bengals get the Browns and Johnny Manziel Thursday. How does this one play out with Andy Dalton's prime time reputation?
It's no secret Dalton has lit it up during the day and struggled at night, and with flex scheduling he now faces three prime timers in a row. Andy is just 3-7 in night games, including last years debacle against these same Browns where he posted a 2.0 QBR. Sadly it wasn't anything the Browns did defensively, it was Dalton missing wide open receivers badly. But this isn't the same Andy, and the Browns come in with a mash unit, missing stars Joe Haden and Donte Whitner, as well as their starting QB to name just a few. Thursday night games tend to even the playing field with both teams on a short week, but the talent is undeniably in Cincinnati's favor in this one.
The Bengals should be able to stay on track and win this one fairly easily, moving to 8-0. Let's call this one 27-13.
See you next week. Have any questions for the next write up? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on twitter @kmalbanese