Last week, Michael Vick decided to do something the running backâ€¦ I mean quarterbackâ€¦ has rarely doneâ€”throw the ball for touchdowns! Opening his game up like he did against the Steelers should make this weekâ€™s opponent, the Bengals, wonder exactly how they should defend this usually run-happy offense. And didnâ€™t Atlanta front office folks look real smart in their signing of the ever-youthful kicker Morten Anderson about a month ago when their starting field goal man Michael Koenen showed more inconsistency than gas pump prices?
Against the Steelers, the forty-six year old Anderson won the game, after Michael Koenen (now usually a punter) made a 56-yard field goal only to have it nullified by a Pittsburgh timeout. He then missed a 56-yarder. But there was a five yard penalty and with that Anderson was brought in. He missed his 52-yard attempt. Finally, Anderson won the game in OT. It wasnâ€™t pretty, but then again, itâ€™s football.
This season, Cincinnati has looked good and then bad and then good again. Carson Palmer has not played as well as many had anticipated he would. Part of his problem could be associated with last yearâ€™s knee injuryâ€”how is it holding up? The bad news is that the Bengalsâ€™ OL is, once again, missing starters. Palmer, who has been sacked 19 times, needs that protection to be effective. It will be a big help for Palmer if Cincinnati with Rudi Johnson can establish a solid running game. (By the wayâ€”Vick has also been sacked 19 times this season, but his explosive running ability can make up for the deficit on the very next play.)
The offenses and defenses are fairly even. Cincinnati has the home field edge, which translates into being 3.5- point favorites. Vick and company are great improvisers while Palmer and his guys play best in a control game. These two teams have been tough to predict. Iâ€™m thinking Atlanta, especially in a tight one or if it involves a last minute win.