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 12 months in the past, Taylor acquired a public vote of confidence by workforce 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 proportion throughout his first full season below heart. In final week’s win over the Raiders, the unflappable Burrow accomplished practically 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 must defeat a Titans workforce that’s rested and wholesome after taking part in with out most of its key offensive gamers all through the common season. 

Listed below are three the explanation why the Bengals will defy the chances by taking down the AFC’s top-seeded workforce, 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 a virtually equivalent influence in Cincinnati, because the Bengals imagine they will 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 ability that made him the No. 1 general decide within the 2020 Draft. With the sport within the steadiness, 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 a purpose to have playoff success. That absolutely is not misplaced on Taylor, who will seemingly make sure that to provide Joe Mixon a gentle food plan 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 have the ability to make the most of the Titans’ Twenty fifth-ranked go protection. 

The Titans have a powerful go rush. Led by Harold Landry’s 12 sacks, the Titans registered 43 sacks in the course of the common season. Whereas that is one thing to regulate, the Bengals ought to have the ability 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 have been capable of do in final week’s win over Las Vegas. 

Cincinnati’s protection 

The Bengals’ protection has turned a destructive right into a optimistic. Dropping sort out Larry Ogunjobi is a big 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 strains 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 among the NFL’s prime backs; it would look to have related success in opposition to Henry. 

“I am wanting ahead to it,” defensive sort out D.J. Reader mentioned of dealing with the Titans’ offense, through The Athletic. “They do some good issues within the run sport. However we’re excited as a D-Line. It is a massive 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 believe all people’s enthusiastic about it. However it at all times begins with us up entrance. So we have got to at all times create that particular second up entrance and simply create the sport going from there. It may 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 remaining seconds. The unit is actually 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 could sound easy, however having perception 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 stunning upsets by having a mindset that matched and even surpassed their expertise. The Bengals have that very same mindset. 

That mindset is shared by either side of the ball. The Bengals’ protection is hungry to show that it is among the league’s prime items. Cincinnati’s offense, led by Burrow, is seeking to solidify its place as one of many league’s elite teams. As a franchise, the Bengals are decided to set a brand new commonplace of expectation that features deep postseason runs. That begins with this Saturday in Nashville, because the Bengals want to take a long time of frustration out on the Titans, whereas within the course of ushering in a brand new period in Cincinnati. 

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