1) Bengals Defense
By keeping McGahee and rookie Ronnie Hillman in check, the biggest benefit is taking away the play-action fakes. Peyton Manning has the best play-action in the NFL. He makes it look exactly the same between real hand-offs and play-fakes. Linebackers gets sucked in and Safeties hesitate while waiting for the offense to declare their intentions; both reactions will get you killed. Manning is banking on it. He’s also not going to allow Cincinnati to make substitutions like they normally do. Denver will pick up the pace when they get a matchup they like. Mike Zimmer isn’t afraid to throw his nickel package out there even though the offense is only in 2WR packages. This would force the Broncos to run against a “small” Bengals front. On the other hand, if Cincinnati decides to play base defense against Denver’s 3WR looks, Manning will hurry it up and not allow Zimmer to sub players in. Don’t expect to see the backups as much as normal, but look for Cincinnati’s nickel defense to be the primary defense.
2) Bengals Offense
Last year in Denver, the Bengals were in their third game of the season and the offense awoke in the 2nd half behind a vertical passing attack. This year, the Bengals offense has only been aggressive during a 3-game stretch against Cleveland, Washington & Jacksonville. Denver creates a challenge because none of those teams have a Champ Bailey, Elvis Dumerville or Von Miller. Andre Smith in particular must be on his best game against Miller. Smith’s consistent deficiency remains his inside in pass protection. He gets back so quickly, that he can be vulnerable to inside moves. That happens to be Miller’s specialty. He’s so fast vertically that he forces OTs to get back quick and set up quicker, that’s when Miller’s rare agility comes into play. He can plant that left foot and drive inside without losing much speed. This causes QBs to bail early and Andy Dalton has the propensity to do that and cut his field in half as a result.