Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013
8:30 p.m.; NBC
QB ANDY DALTON
His passer rating of 87.7 isn’t overly flattering, and is in part attributable to his having thrown 16 interceptions. But the 120.5 rating Dalton posted in last Sunday’s 42-28 win over Indianapolis was the fifth time he hit three figures in that department this season. Cincinnati is 5-0 in those games (14-1 in Dalton’s career when his passer rating is 100.0 or better). Dalton has 25 TD passes, seven shy of Carson Palmer’s franchise-record 32 in 2005. And with 3,419 passing yards Dalton has joined the great Peyton Manning as the only players to surpass 3,000 in each of their first three seasons.
LB VONTAZE BURFICT
He’s the Bengals’ leading tackler with 169 by a wide margin over runner-up and fellow LB Rey Maualuga (91). Burfict, an every-down player this season, is third among Bengals with 10 passes defensed (first among the front seven) and is tied for the team lead in fumble recoveries with two. Burfict also has an interception and a forced fumble, which he returned 13 yards for his first career touchdown on Nov. 17 against Cleveland. S Taylor Mays said Burfict has a “demeanor that’s contagious,” and Maualuga described Burfict as “the real deal.”
ABOUT THE BENGALS
Cincinnati won its third straight game, improved to 9-4 overall and to 6-0 at home for the first time since 1988 via last Sunday’s win over Indianapolis. The Bengals have clinched a third consecutive winning season for the second time in franchise history. Cincinnati can clinch a wild card invitation to the playoffs if it gains any ground on Miami (7-6) this weekend and can wrap up the AFC North title if it gains any ground on Baltimore (7-6). The Bengals beat the Steelers, 20-10, on Sept. 16 at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati is on pace to outscore its opponents by 100 points (334-244) for the fourth time in franchise history and for the first time since 1989, and to score 400 points for the first time since 2005.
THE BENGALS’ OFFENSE
THE BENGALS’ DEFENSE
THE BENGALS’ SPECIAL TEAMS
The Bengals have three blocked kicks this season (two field goals and a punt, which was returned for a touchdown on Nov. 17 against Cleveland). P Kevin Huber is No. 5 in the NFL in net average (41.6 yards per). K Mike Nugent is 16-for-20 on field goals (3-for-4 from 50-plus yards). Nugent hit a 43-yarder to beat Buffalo in overtime, 27-24, on Oct. 13, and he converted a last-play, 54-yarder to beat Detroit, 27-24, on Oct. 20.