Five Bengals questions to ask before they face the Ravens on Sunday
Q: Will new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson emphasize the running game?
A: Yes he will. It won’t be three yards and a cloud of dust. But it’s no secret Jackson wants to run the ball more than Jay Gruden, the former offensive coordinator who departed to coach Washington. Giovani Bernard is now the Bengals’ featured back, while talented rookie Jeremy Hill will also get carries. If the Ravens are not solid against the run, Bernard has the speed to make big plays.
Q: Will defensive tackle Geno Atkins be 100 percent?
A: This will be Atkins’ first game since tearing his ACL last year. Atkins was one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the game prior to the injury. He may reach that level again eventually, but asking him to do that Sunday might be too much.
Q: Will wide receiver A. J. Green burn the Ravens’ secondary?
A: This could be a matchup problem for the Ravens. Green is a star, and the Ravens’ to three cornerbacks are coming off injuries?
Q: Is rookie center Russell Bodine ready for prime time?
A: Bodine has a tough challenge in his first start. Ravens tackle Brandon Williams looked terrific during preseason, and Haloti Ngata has made a career feasting on centers. Bodine may need help to keep from being overmatched.
Q: Are the Bengals still the team to beat in the AFC North?
A: If the Bengals walk into Baltimore and get a win, the answer is yes. But if the Ravens protect their turf, it would be a positive sign that they might have what it takes to dethrone the Bengals as division champs.
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