Panther vs Bengals 2011 NFL Preseason Week 3 Preview
The Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) will look to get into the win column in week 3 of the 2011 NFL Preseason when they take on the Carolina Panthers (1-1) on Thursday at 7:00pm ET at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals have only managed 10 points in the preseason so far after getting romped 27-7 by the Jets. The Panthers lost as well, with their loss coming in a 20-10 game in Miami. Both of the Panthers’ exhibition games have finished with the same score, as Carolina beat the New York Giants 20-10 in week 1. The Bengals need more time to develop in every aspect of the game than the Panthers do, as Carolina at least has some pieces in place. Without Carson Palmer, Terrell Owens, or Chad Ochocinco, this team loses a lot of its offense going into 2011.
With a rookie combination of QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green, the Bengals will be relying on Cedric Benson and the running game a lot this season. Benson had a great season in 2010, but it would be hard to expect the same results with such a depleted offense. Carolina’s offense will see Cam Newton get the start and he is expected to play three full quarters before Jimmy Claussen and Derek Anderson come in and close it out. Newton will get a good chance to work on his game against a Bengals’ secondary that is also suffering after the loss of CB Jonathan Joseph, who is now with the Houston Texans. Three quarters of even mediocre play should give Newton the edge to be the starting quarterback in Week 1.
The Bengals pass rush has been almost nonexistent, which will give Newton all day to throw the ball. This will give him the chance to check all of his reads on the field and eventually find the open man. Sprinkled in there will be a few deep throws to WR Steve Smith, who is set to make his preseason debut and will be playing deep into the second quarter as he gets used to playing with his new QB. Expect the combination to hookup on at least one deep route and perhaps even a touchdown, since the Bengals have been outscored 61-10 so far in the preseason.
Despite missing the early weeks of training camp while recovering from a motorcycle crash, Greg Hardy has made a huge impact on Ron Rivera and the Panthers’ coaching staff. They’ve already told Hardy he will be the starting defensive end opposite Charles Johnson to open the season on September 11th in Arizona. Hardy became popular amongst the fans by making plays wherever possible. In fact, if Hardy is able to show a little more constraint he looks like he has the physical tools to become a truly dominant defensive end, so keep your eyes on him on Thursday. All in all, this game going to make the Panthers look like a very good team, so it will be important to keep in mind who their opponent is. The Panthers are favored by 5 points in this game and I believe they will bring enough with them to easily cover that point spread. Expect another dismal performance by the Bengals, as this game is going to be truly lopsided.