The Cincinnati Bengals high hopes could be crushed if the drop this road game to the Carolina Panthers September 26th. Rookie Jimmy Clausen is starting for a Carolina Panthers team that is clearly in transition but he does have some decent weapons in his arsenal to start his career. Clausen will have a reliable target, his number one receiver, Steve Smith. He will also have a solid running game to help him out.
Running Game for Carolina Panthers & Cincinnati Bengals has Grown in Importance
DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were once a potent one-two combination for the Carolina Panthers last season and now they have struggled this year. Part of the problem for the Carolina Panthers running game is the slow return of Jonathan Stewart.
If Stewart can get in his rhythm, DeAngelo Williams will get into gear like clockwork. Look for a focused running game and Stewart to carry the ball twenty times to Williams 22-25 carries to take the pressure off Jimmy Clausen in his first start.
Running for the Cincinnati Bengals is not the first thing most think about but Cedric Benson will be the key to the Cincinnati Bengals winning the close games in their AFC North Division. Benson has yet to rush for 100 yards but he will have to knock out at least 100 in this game to make sure the Cincinnati Bengals conserve their stars in this game. Running game edge goes to the Carolina Panthers over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Passing Attack of Cincinnati Bengals is Well Known but Jimmy Clausen & Carolina Panthers Could Surprise
Carson Palmer has so many receivers with good hands on the Cincinnati Bengals it doesn’t matter who he throws the ball to on this team. The only Achilles heel on this Cincinnati Bengals team is there is no legitimate deep threat. Jermaine Gresham, the Bengals first round NFL Draft pick, has the speed to become a deep threat much like Antonio Gates. Terrell Owens and Chad Ocho Cinco both have great route running and pass catching skills but they do not have the speed to run the old reliable deep out routes on the fly.
Jimmy Clausen makes his first start for the Carolina Panthers and he will have one mission: hand the ball off to his two talented running backs, Williams and Stewart. Clausen will learn quickly that he can succeed in this offense as soon as he takes advantage of the play action pass and he can get the ball to his talented number one receiver, Steve Smith.
Cincinnati Bengals -3 vs Carolina Panthers: Pick Against the Spread & Final Look
The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook opened the Cincinnati Bengals as -3.5 point favorites over the home team Carolina Panthers. The line has now been bet to the key number of three and has held and most likely will not be bet off the key number.
A rookie quarterback and a low line can be extremely tempting but the Carolina Panthers will be banging the ball up the already worn down Cincinnati Bengals defense. The game against the Baltimore Ravens will have taken the legs of most of the Cincinnati Bengals heading into this game. Take the Cincinnati Bengals to cover the 3.5 point spread over the Carolina Panthers but do not get carried away with this one it may be closer than most think.
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