Pivotal Game For Bengals Sunday!
At 4-4 some Ohio residents think that the Cincinnati Bengals may not even be the best team in the state, as that title belongs to the Ohio State Buckeyes. All kidding aside, folks, the Marvin Lewis led team are at the crossroads of the 2006-2007 season and they would prefer not to be staring down the barrel at LaDainian Tomlinson.
The Chargers head out on the road at 6-2 and tied for the AFC West lead with Denver and have been installed as a -1 pick by the world's largest online sportsbook (www.sportsbook.com). This just may be the weekend for the Carson Palmer and company as the lightning bolts will travel across the country for a 10:00 am PCT kickoff and minus Shawn Merriman.
Merriman is sitting out game two of his four game suspensions for using steroids and Marty Schottenheimer's troops are also battling several other injuries on the defensive side. None of that however will really matter if the Bengals cannot stop LT with their 24th rank against the rush defense.
Tomlinson ran for 172 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries to lead San Diego (6-2) to a 32-25 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. With 828 yards, Tomlinson has pulled within two of the NFL's leading rusher, Tiki Barber of the New York Giants.
The big difference between the two is Tomlinson has 12 touchdowns rushing and Barber has only one. Tomlinson has taken over the league lead in yards from scrimmage with 1,151, six more than Larry Johnson of division rival Kansas City. The Chargers' star back leads the NFL with 14 touchdowns.
Four losses in the last five games have brought out the worst in the Bengals. Players are openly second-guessing the play calls and their collective toughness, besides losing their cool during games. A 26-20 loss in Baltimore on Sunday left the defending AFC North champions with a two-game deficit in their division.
Johnson, a Pro Bowl receiver, has only two touchdowns this season and was seething after being held to four catches for 32 yards against Baltimore.
The Chargers are 5-3 against the spread this year and 14-4-2 in their last 20 games. The Bengals are 3-4-1 against the number. Sportsbook.com is now offering a wager on the over/under total that has risen from an opening 46 ½ to 48.
The weather will not be an issue with the sun shining.
About the Author: Bob is an experienced sports writer and handicapper who has written for the sports industry for over a decade. He has been a regular contributer to Sports Scene, a sports consultant for television's 33 Made and other major motion pictures.