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Behind Enemy Lines: Arizona Cardinals host Cincinnati Bengals in Glendale

The Arizona Cardinals thought they’d be hosting an undefeated Cincinnati Bengals team Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Houston Texans had other plans.

Led by backup quarterback T.J. Yates, the Texans (a 10-point underdog) shut down the Bengals in an ugly 10-6 win.

Regardless, Arizona’s second straight appearance on NBC’s Sunday Night Football will be a battle of division leaders. The Cardinals, after their 39-32 win over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, are 7-2 and lead the NFC West by a comfortable three-game margin. Cincinnati is still 8-1 and owns a 2.5-game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.

All week, we’ll keep you updated on everything going on in Cincinnati as the Bengals prepare for their first regular-season visit to Arizona since 2003.

It’s Behind Enemy Lines …

bengalsheadFriday, November 20

Three things the Bengals must do to beat the Cardinals (

On paper, the Bengals and Cardinals match up quite favorably. Constructed similarly in all phases, it’s no wonder the FPI has this game ranked as the best of the week. It has an 82.1 pregame matchup quality percentage, some nine points higher than the next game — the Bills-Patriots game on Monday night.

While with Bengals, Jermaine Gresham taught Tyler Eifert how to loosen up (

As Tyler Eifert tries to rebound from arguably the worst game of his young NFL career, he might be wise to lean this week on a lesson he learned from former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Hue Jackson’s concerns go deeper than Bengals’ run game (

“We’re trying to win games. It’s not about running the ball. Please,” Jackson said at the end of a testier-than-normal exchange with reporters. “That’s not the only thing we do. We throw the ball, too. You asked me about running the ball and you said, ‘Are we going to jump-start the running game?’ And I said, ‘We’re running the ball.’ So I don’t understand what it is that you guys are looking for.”

Bengals notes: Special teams rebound, tipped passes (

A look at special teams’ attempt to bounce back from an odd outing against Houston, plus Bengals battling Arizona’s knack for tipped passes and a surprise injury.

Matchup of the Game: ‘Mano a mano’ (

It has been a tough week for Green. But he lights up about Sunday’s Stud Summit in Arizona matching him with Peterson, his 2011 SEC bookend.

“Mano a mano,” says Green in a week Carson Palmer gave him the biggest compliment possible when he compared his route running to Chad Johnson.



Thursday, November 19

• One Bengals player says Carson Palmer ‘quit on us’ in 2011 (Washington Post)

Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday face the Cincinnati Bengals, the team that drafted Palmer with the No. 1 pick of the 2003 NFL draft. But things turned sour after a 4-12 season in 2010, and Palmer wanted out.

• Hue Jackson’s concerns go deeper than Bengals’ run game (

Yes, Hue Jackson thinks about the Cincinnati Bengals‘ running game, but he’s not devoting as much time to worrying about it as you might believe.

• While with Bengals, Jermaine Gresham taught Tyler Eifert how to loosen up (

As Tyler Eifert tries to rebound from arguably the worst game of his young NFL career, he might be wise to lean this week on a lesson he learned from former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham.

• Bengals defense playing like Mike Zimmer-led groups of past (

Lost in the ugliness of Monday’s loss to the Texans was the beauty of another great performance by the Bengals defense.

bengalsheadWednesday, November 18

Could Bengals-Cardinals in prime time be a Super Bowl 50 preview? (

Very few in the Queen City probably want to hear this right now, but their Cincinnati Bengals (8-1) still have a Super Bowl buzz about them, despite Monday night’s loss to the Houston Texans.

With a win over the Arizona Cardinals (7-2) on Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium, the buzz would persist and the overwhelming support the Bengals had before their undefeated season was ruined would likely return.

First look: Bengals vs. Cardinals (

Arizona head coach Bruce Arians is at the helm of one of the most complete teams in all of football, as the Cardinals are the only team in the league to rank in the top five in total offense and defense. The offense is led by 30-somethings in quarterback Carson Palmer (36), Larry Fitzgerald (32) and running back Chris Johnson (30).

After Texans Hold’em, Bengals turn to Cards (

A few takeaways from the Bengals’ first loss of the season and Sunday’s upcoming game (8:30 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 5) in Arizona.

Bengals’ weak fan support could hinder dynamic pricing plans (Cincinnati Business Courier)

The Bengals are looking at the possibility of shifting to a strategy of adjusting ticket prices based on demand, a model known as dynamic pricing. But the 8-0 Bengals won’t make the move this year. Andrew Brown, Bengals director of ticket sales, told me the team won’t make such a move until next season, if at all.

bengalsheadTuesday, November 17

Adam Jones on DeAndre Hopkins’ TD: ‘Put the game on me’ (

Jones started by shouting he was “pissed!” at himself for allowing Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins to have just enough room in the corner of the end zone to make a circus, one-handed touchdown catch. Somehow, Hopkins was even able to keep both feet in bounds.

Tyler Eifert’s objective this week? Forget the drops (

The moment Tyler Eifert dropped a second-quarter pass that led to a failed third-down conversion and a subsequent Cincinnati Bengals field goal try, he was doomed.

Dre Kirkpatrick up, Tyler Eifert down in Bengals’ loss (

A look at Cincinnati Bengals players who were “up” and those who were “down” in Monday night’s 10-6 loss to the Houston Texans.

Bengals’ offense the culprit in first loss (

On Monday night against the Texans, the Bengals waited and waited and waited some more. Only, the watershed drive never came. Even at the semblance of one final push to erase a night of frustration, there was one more mistake to end the day – as A.J. Green fumbled away a fourth-down conversion.

Dalton takes issue with J.J. Watt’s ‘BB gun’ comments (

“I’m disappointed in him because of the integrity of this game,” Dalton said. “I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a really good player. There are a lot of kids and people who look up to him, and for him to make comments like that, he’s just showing that’s acceptable to say that kind of stuff. It’s disappointing for one of the best players in the league to come out and say something like that, so that’s all I’m going to say about that. I think he’s a good player, but for him to be one of the best in the league and to show that integrity, it shows what he’s about, and that’s disappointing.”


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