Why the Bengals will beat the Titans: ‘Joe Cool’ is able to ship Cincinnati’s first playoff street win


“Why not us” has been the Bengals‘ rallying cry for the 2021 season. The phrase, which was first uttered throughout coaching camp by tight finish C.J. Uzomah, had already been printed on T-shirts previous to the Bengals’ 26-19 overcome the Raiders within the AFC wild card spherical, a win that ended Cincinnati’s 31-year drought and not using a postseason victory. 

Cincinnati’s resurgence has been led by coach Zac Taylor and quarterback Joe Burrow. This time a yr in the past, Taylor acquired a public vote of confidence by staff proprietor Mike Brown after he went 6-25-1 throughout his first two seasons. Taylor has rewarded Brown’s religion in him by main the franchise to its finest season because the franchise represented the AFC in Tremendous Bowl XXIII. Taylor has benefited from the play of Burrow, who led the NFL in completion share throughout his first full season beneath middle. In final week’s win over the Raiders, the unflappable Burrow accomplished almost 71% of his throws that included landing passes to Uzomah and receiver Tyler Boyd

The Bengals will now take their act to Nashville with the hope of delivering the franchise’s first street playoff victory. With a purpose to try this, Cincinnati should defeat a Titans staff that’s rested and wholesome after enjoying with out most of its key offensive gamers all through the common season. 

Listed here are three the reason why the Bengals will defy the percentages by taking down the AFC’s top-seeded staff, beginning with the participant that has been dubbed “Joe Cool.” 

Joe Burrow 

Burrow’s favourite participant rising up was Drew Brees, who instantly introduced credibility to the Saints upon arriving in New Orleans in 2006. Burrow has had an almost an identical influence in Cincinnati, because the Bengals consider they’ll play with and beat the NFL’s premier groups. Cincinnati proved it in Week 17 by overcoming a 14-0 deficit to knock off Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Regardless of sharing the sphere with Mahomes, Burrow was the higher quarterback that day, as he threw for 446 yards and 4 touchdowns. 

Burrow performed like a seasoned veteran in his playoff debut. He led the Bengals on six scoring drives whereas showcasing the poise and talent that made him the No. 1 general choose within the 2020 Draft. With the sport within the stability, Burrow led the Bengals on two second-half scoring drives that included a number of clutch completions to rookie phenom Ja’Marr Chase, who caught 9 passes for 116 yards in his playoff debut. 

You must run the ball with the intention to have playoff success. That absolutely is not misplaced on Taylor, who will doubtless make certain to provide Joe Mixon a gradual food regimen of carries in opposition to the Titans. That being mentioned, the Bengals’ bread and butter is the passing sport, as Burrow is armed with the league’s finest receiving corps in Chase, Boyd, Uzomah and second-year receiver Tee Higgins. This unit ought to be capable to make the most of the Titans’ Twenty fifth-ranked go protection. 

The Titans have a robust go rush. Led by Harold Landry’s 12 sacks, the Titans registered 43 sacks through the common season. Whereas that is one thing to regulate, the Bengals ought to be capable to deal with the Titans’ go rush so long as they’re able to keep away from too many second- and third-and-long conditions, which they had been capable of do in final week’s win over Las Vegas. 

Cincinnati’s protection 

The Bengals’ protection has turned a adverse right into a optimistic. Dropping sort out Larry Ogunjobi is a major loss, however the Bengals’ protection has embraced the “subsequent man up” mentality heading into Saturday’s sport. They’re additionally motivated to play effectively in honor of Ogunjobi, who served as a pseudo coach throughout this week’s practices. 

Cincinnati’s protection has the expertise to go toe toe toe with the Titans’ offense, which options one of many league’s finest offensive traces together with working again Derrick Henry, fellow backs D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard, and receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. The Bengals’ protection is loaded with expertise, led by All-Professional pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson, fellow defensive linemen Sam Hubbard and B.J. Hill, linebackers Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt, and defensive backs Jessie Bates III, Eli Apple, Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton

Cincinnati’s protection has already had success this season in opposition to a few of the NFL’s high backs; it is going to look to have comparable success in opposition to Henry. 

“I am trying ahead to it,” defensive sort out D.J. Reader mentioned of going through the Titans’ offense, by way of The Athletic. “They do some good issues within the run sport. However we’re excited as a D-Line. It is a large problem for us. And it is a problem we’re gonna go on the market and settle for and we’ll go on the market and do our factor. I feel all people’s enthusiastic about it. But it surely all the time begins with us up entrance. So we have got to all the time create that particular second up entrance and simply create the sport going from there. It will begin and find yourself entrance, each sport.”

Together with having a stout run protection, the Bengals additionally possess an opportunistic protection. The protection got here up with two turnovers in final Saturday’s win over the Raiders, with the second turnover — an interception by Pratt — sealing the win within the sport’s closing seconds. The unit is definitely able to forcing turnovers in opposition to a Titans offense that coughed the ball up 4 occasions throughout their 19-13 loss in Pittsburgh in Week 15. 

‘Why not us’ perspective 

It might sound easy, however having consider is paramount to postseason success. Undergo the listing of all-time playoff upsets and you will find groups that weren’t devoid of confidence. The ’68 Jets, ’83 Raiders, ’96 Jaguars, ’97 Broncos, ’01 Patriots, ’05 Steelers, ’07 and ’11 Giants, and ’17 Jaguars pulled off surprising upsets by having a mindset that matched and even surpassed their expertise. The Bengals have that very same mindset. 

That mindset is shared by each side of the ball. The Bengals’ protection is hungry to show that it is without doubt one of the league’s high items. Cincinnati’s offense, led by Burrow, is trying to solidify its place as one of many league’s elite teams. As a franchise, the Bengals are decided to set a brand new customary of expectation that features deep postseason runs. That begins with this Saturday in Nashville, because the Bengals want to take many years of frustration out on the Titans, whereas within the course of ushering in a brand new period in Cincinnati. 



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