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Preview: Kansas City at Cincinnati
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 4, 2015
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Cincinnati Bengals aim for their first 4-0 start since 2005 when they host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs are trying to avoid their third straight defeat – they were torched by Aaron Rodgers and company in a 38-28 loss at Green Bay on Monday night – and have a tough task in slowing down Cincinnati’s passing game.
Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton recorded a career-high 383 passing yards while throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another in rallying his team to a 28-24 win at Baltimore last week. But the Bengals have been here before – they started 3-0 a year ago before finishing 10-5-1 and losing in the wild-card round for the fourth straight year. “It just reminds me of last year when we were 3-0, then we kind of blew it,” running back Jeremy Hill told reporters. “We’re not content with what we have right now. We have to keep on pounding and keep on working.” The Bengals have won three straight meetings with Kansas City, which hasn’t won at Cincinnati since 1984.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bengals -4. O/U: 44.5
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (1-2): Kansas City has to find a way to sustain drives, having converted just 5-of-30 third-down tries – by far the worst rate in the league. If the Chiefs can keep the offense on the field, they have a nice collection of weapons around quarterback Alex Smith – including running back Jamaal Charles (231 rushing yards, four touchdowns), receiver Jeremy Maclin (17 catches, 250 yards, one TD) and tight end Travis Kelce (16, 244, two). The struggling secondary gets back Sean Smith from a three-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, which will help the Chiefs make up for the loss of fellow cornerback Phillip Gaines, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Packers.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (3-0): Dalton’s maturity as a quarterback has stabilized Cincinnati’s offense, as the fifth-year signal-caller leads the AFC with a 121 rating, and A.J. Green had a game for the ages last week with 10 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns – including the game-winner. The ground game took a downward tick last week, but the one-two punch of Hill and Giovani Bernard has combined for 358 rushing yards and two scores. The Bengals have been tough against the run – holding two opponents under 100 yards – and have forced six turnovers, but they gave up a whopping 362 passing yards last week.
1. The Chiefs have allowed 14 sacks while the Bengals have given up only two.
2. Dalton is aiming for the first streak of four consecutive games with a triple-digit QB rating of his career.
3. Kansas City already has allowed five rushing touchdowns through three games after yielding an NFL-low four last season.
PREDICTION: Bengals 30, Chiefs 26