By Ted Cahill
Raise your hand if you predicted the Bengals to be a Super Bowl contender this year.
Alright, besides Carson Palmer, I’m pretty sure no one is on record with anything close to that. But here we are, nine weeks into the season and Cincinnati is perched on top of the AFC North and is drawing Super Bowl predictions.
I can’t say I saw this coming, though I thought they would be a little more competitive than a year ago. I’m also unwilling to toss their name in the Super Bowl picture, but if Ocho Cinco wants to toss some money my way, I’m down.
None of these players paid me to put them in here, but the Chiefs should have. Where else are they going to find all this ink not written about Larry Johnson?
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Cincinnati
Roethlisberger will likely take advantage of a porous Bengals’ pass defense. Cincinnati is allowing 242 passing yards per game, and remember they play the Browns to help that average out. Big Ben already has a 276 passing yard day that came with a running and throwing touchdown.
Matt Cassel, Chiefs at Oakland
No Larry Johnson, likely means more passing. For all of you that drafted Cassel expecting him to do something, this might be the week for you. The Raiders give up 212 passing yards per game and Cassel will likely pass that.
Anquan Boldin, Cardinals vs. Seattle
Boldin is typically a must-start, but he has been nursing an injury and did not play last week. Boldin wasn’t happy with that decision and will likely go this week. He can do work against Seahawks, given the turnaround of Kurt Warner.
Laurence Maroney, Patriots at Indianapolis
The Colts will probably try and take Tom Brady out of the equation as much as possible this week. That should mean open holes for Maroney to run through. Maroney has scored three touchdowns in his last three games and has averaged 83 yards.
Carson Palmer, Bengals at Pittsburgh
Palmer didn’t throw for 200 yards in week three when these two teams met in Cincinnati. I don’t expect him to have a big game at Pittsburgh, who picked off Kyle Orton three times on Monday night.
Kyle Orton, Broncos at Washington
The good news for Orton is the Redskins have only four interceptions this season. However, they allow only 160 passing yards per game and Denver doesn’t throw much on the road. I’d look to avoid him.
Greg Jennings, Packers vs. Dallas
The Cowboys do a good job taking away deep threats with a combination of good cornerbacks and a great pass rush. They give up yards underneath, which is where Aaron Rodgers is likely to be looking this week. Jennings will likely not hit any home runs for you this week.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs at Oakland
Yes the Raiders allow a lot of rushing yards, just not to Charles. He’s coming into a bad situation and Oakland’s pass defense is even worse than their run defense