Looking ahead to the Bengals game

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The Ravens are in Cincinnati on Sunday with a chance to close ground in the AFC North. Here's a quick look at the Bengals:

Record: 5-2, tied with Steelers for first place in AFC North.


Week 8: Bengals had their bye.

What's working: The offense is potent once again. Carson Palmer is over his injuries and Cedric Benson has given the Bengals a viable run game. On defense, the Bengals have been able to stop the run for the most part.


What's not: The pass defense is vulnerable to the big play, allowing 10 touchdown passes. Ball security has become an issue, too. The Bengals have 11 giveaways, including seven Palmer interceptions.

Who's hot: Benson. In Week 5, Benson ended the Ravens' streak for not allowing a 100-yard rusher with 120 in Cincinnati's 17-14 win in Baltimore. In Week 7, he battered his former team, the Bears, for 189 rush yards in a 45-10 Bengals' romp. With the week off, Benson dropped from first in NFL rushing to fourth.

Who's not: Tight end Dan Coats. Dropped passes and fumbles enabled J.P. Foschi, who didn't start training camp with the Bengals, to move ahead of Coats on the depth chart. Still, the Bengals use a lot of two-tight end formations, so Coats will play. The Bengals brought in tight end Tony Curtis, recently released by the Ravens, for a tryout on Oct. 26, but did not sign him.

Offensive keynote: With three new starters in the offensive line, the Bengals have allowed just 11 sacks through seven games. They are hoping rookie tackle Andre Smith can return from a broken foot for this game.

Defensive keynote: The loss of pass rusher Antwan Odom (eight sacks) for the year to an Achilles injury has resulted in more big plays down the field. Jonathan Fanene has three sacks and the team has 17 overall.

Special teams keynote: Quan Cosby is averaging 13.1 yards per punt return.

Injuries: Fullback Jeremi Johnson (knee), safety Roy Williams (forearm) and Andre Smith (foot) are all expected to play.