Tonight the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans clash—two teams going in completely opposite directions. The Bengals look poised to compete for the AFC North division title while the Titans might be lucky to come out of the AFC South in something other than the basement.
Here are three things to keep an eye on this evening when the teams meet at 7pm EST Saturday night.
1) The Bengals could have an embarrassment of riches in the backfield with rookie Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis but will probably lean on one or the other. While the Bengals aren’t ready to reduce Green-Ellis’ role, Bernard is just too dynamic to keep on the bench for long. Still, they aren’t saying yet—so a big performance ahead of the Week 3 game could go a long way towards deciding the issue.
2) The offensive line looked better last week for the Titans, but honestly improving from “bad” isn’t enough. They need to continue progressing as a unit, not just to keep Chris Johnson running but keep Jake Locker upright. The offense can’t go anywhere if the line can’t at a much higher level than it did last season.
3) Despite playing most of the first half against the Washington Redskins, Jake Locker didn’t do much, nor did he look really good doing what little he did and was unable to find the end zone. It’s not going to get easier this weekend against the Bengals defense which has a tremendous pass-rush and a good secondary. It’s a make or break year for Locker—the Titans need him to play better or they need to move on.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and an NFL writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.