NFL Divisional Playoff Preview - Cincinnati Bengals vs Tennessee Titans

NFL Divisional Playoff Preview - Cincinnati Bengals vs Tennessee Titans

Cole Paganelli
2 years ago
3 min read
NFL Divisional Playoff Preview - CIncinnati Bengals vs Tennessee Titans

Two of the more pleasant surprises in the NFL this season will meet in the AFC Divisional playoffs, as the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans tangle on Saturday afternoon. Cincinnati enters the game as a 3.5-point underdog but also enters with momentum after picking up a win in Wild Card weekend. The Titans, meanwhile, will look to avoid any rust after getting a first-round bye a week ago.

Cincinnati Bengals

It wasn’t easy by any means, but the Cincinnati Bengals got the better of the Las Vegas Raiders at home to kick off the NFL playoffs last Saturday. Cincinnati held on to win that game 26-19, getting an interception on the goal line in the final minute to hold off a fourth-quarter comeback attempt from the Raiders. This week, the Bengals will look to avoid another sluggish final quarter, as it could come back to haunt them against a team like Tennessee.

This season, Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense has received most of the credit for the team’s success. However, it was their defense that saw them through against the Raiders, as the Cincinnati offense tallied just 308 total yards for the game. Against a Tennessee team that has one of the best scoring defenses in the NFL, the Bengals will need to be more precise offensively to avoid their season ending in Nashville.

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Tennessee Titans

Last week, the Tennessee Titans enjoyed their first-round bye as a reward for finishing in the top spot in the AFC standings. With that extra week off, the Titans could get their best offensive player back in running back Derrick Henry. While he has not been confirmed to play yet, Henry has been cleared for contact in practice and could give the Titans a boost in their running game against the Bengals.

If Henry does go, the offense for the Titans changes dramatically in the Divisional round. The threat of arguably the best running back in the league would take so much pressure off of Ryan Tannehill and the Titans’ passing attack. It would also help the Titans keep the ball away from Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati offense, as the ability to move the ball on the ground would chew clock and limit the number of possessions Cincinnati could use to strike through the air.

Keys To The Game

For the Bengals, the biggest key to this game is simply handling the road environment in a big game. Cincinnati’s most impressive wins on the road this season came against the Steelers and Raiders, arguably the two worst teams in the playoffs this year. In a hostile environment against a better team, with postseason pressure in the equation, the inexperienced Bengals will need to show nerves of steel.

Tennessee’s top key to this game will be the impact their passing game has on the proceedings. The Titans clearly prefer to move the ball on the ground when possible, which will be especially true if Henry is back in action for them. But Ryan Tannehill will still need to make plays, something he was unable to do in the playoffs against the Ravens a year ago.

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