DENVER (CBS4/The Sports Xchange) – The last time the Cincinnati Bengals lost a home game in September was 2011. The Broncos will be looking to change that streak of success when they face the Bengals on Sunday.
Here are six things to watch for in the game:
Can the Bengals pass rushers get to Trevor Siemian?
Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins will try to disrupt young Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian, who has played well in his first two games. The offensive line will be without right tackle Donald Stephenson due to a calf injury, so this could be an area of weakness for the Broncos.
How will the Broncos offensive line shuffle things around with Donald Stephenson out?
With Stephenson hurt, the domino effect of position changes could leave right guard in flux. When Stephenson left during the Colts game, Michael Schofield moved outside to right tackle, leaving Darrion Weems at right guard. Weems struggled, allowing pressures on Trevor Siemian while not getting much of a push against the Colts’ defensive line. Ty Sambrailo’s expected return from an elbow injury could put him back at right guard — where he started training camp — or at right tackle, which would move Schofield back inside to right guard, where he fared well in Week 1.
Will the Broncos defensive approach against A.J. Green change?
When Broncos cornerbacks Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby and Chris Harris Jr. faced the Bengals in Week 16 last year they took turns covering ultra-talented wide receiver A.J. Green. Green scored once but averaged just 11.4 yards per reception, with no catches covering more than 17 yards. AJ McCarron played quarterback for the Bengals in that game, but Andy Dalton is back from injury and the star passer for Cincinnati will certainly be looking to make plenty of throws to his top receiver.
Could this be the week Jeff Heuerman becomes a household name in Denver?
Tight end Jeff Heuerman missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury, and hasn’t played so far this year. Week 3 could be the week he finally hits the field. Virgil Green is out with a calf injury so Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak says Heuerman will play against the Bengals along with John Phillips, the only other tight end on the roster. “They are going to both play. John will probably be the first guy to walk out there, but they are going to both play,” Kubiak said on Friday.
Can Trevor Siemian bring down the number of turnovers?
With the Broncos defense playing so well, perhaps the most important thing the team needs from their quarterback is good game management. That’s the opinion of CBS Sports’ NFL analyst Trent Green. “Siemian needs to cut down on the interceptions, but he does some really good things out there,” Green said. “With the way they are and the running game… it’s different with him in the game. It is similar to the running game when Brock Osweiler was in for Peyton Manning for a stint last year.”
Can the Broncos turn those FGs into TDs?
For the Broncos to control the game, they will have to continue having the balance and consistency they’ve displayed in their drives the last two weeks, while adding greater efficiency in scoring range. Twelve of the Broncos’ 18 possessions have crossed the opponent’s 30-yard line, but just four have ended in touchdowns, with another four field goals giving the Broncos 40 of a possible 84 points.
The Broncos travel to Cincinnati for their first road game of the season Sunday. You can see the game at 11 a.m. on CBS4.