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The Cincinnati Bengals just managed to edge out the Tennessee Titans in an away Divisional Round playoff game and are now on their way to the AFC Championship game. The last time the Bengals appeared in a championship game was in 1988.
Were the Bengals better than the Tennessee Titans?
We are witnessing a young team with a lot of swagger making its way through the AFC playoff bracket. The Titans have a reputation of a tough team that pounds the ball and plays till the end. How did they lose to a young coach and a 2nd- year QB?
With a score of 19-16, we can’t really say that the Bengals outplayed the Titans, but they surely outsmarted them. The tale of the stats is the following:
- Tennessee had 6.8 yards per play in that game while the Bengals had 5.4
- The Titans rushed for 140 yards to Cincinnati’s 65
- The yards per pass for the Titans were 8.5 while the Bengals and Joe Burrow achieved only 6.1
The Bengals did not play good defense by all means but what really helped their case was the 3 interceptions thrown by Ryan Tannehill. Without a doubt, this was the determining factor. Especially given the fact that it was during Tennessee’s last drive when Tannehill threw his 3rd interception to help the Bengals get set up for a game-winning field goal. Burrow threw only one pick.
Was that also the case for the Bengals in the Wild card round against the raiders too?
It appears that yards do not necessarily correspond to points in the playoffs as evident from the Bengals’ previous playoff game too. The Raiders outgained them on the ground with 103 rushing yards to 83. In the air, it was again quarterback Derek Carr throwing for 282 yards to Joe Burrow’s 225.
And yet, the Raiders lost 19-26. The Bengals won the turnover battle in that match too – 2 turnovers to 0.
Can the Bengals beat either the Buffalo Bills or the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFCCG?
The short answer we are going to give you is ‘’no’’, but we can obviously be wrong as we have been wrong before.
History shows that if you are regularly outgained by your opponents, you will eventually start losing. The Bengals have found ways to outplay their opponents, but turnovers are unsustainable and furthermore, they are unpredictable.
What’s more, both the Bills and the Chiefs have very strong offenses that can rack up points in bunches. The Cincinnati defense has allowed an average of 17.5 points in the playoffs this year and this has helped them tremendously.
In terms of yardage, however, they have allowed 100+ rushing yards in each of their 2 playoff games and this may end up being costly in the biggest games of the season.
Still, the Bengals are going to finish in the top 4 this year and we have to respect their growth and the fact that they caught many people in the league by surprise. We don’t see them winning or even making the Super Bowl but who knows – turnovers are unpredictable.