Sunday, October 24, 1999

Who's got the edge?




       

QUARTERBACK
        Bengals:

What the Bengals like about Akili Smith is they are 15-for-34 (44 percent) on third down in his two starts compared to 35 percent in the first four games

        Colts: Peyton Manning has about 1,500 snaps on Smith, including training camp. If it's a blowout today, will Manning miss his first NFL play?

        EDGE: Colts

       

RUNNING BACKS
        Bengals: Mystery at Spinney Field: Corey Dillon 4.5 yards per rush, but just over 1.0 in the red zone

        Colts: Edgerrin James is the only Colts back with a carry and he's got one more 100-yard game than Dillon, plus five more catches. But he hasn't gone for 1,000 yet.

        EDGE: Bengals

       

RECEIVERS
        Bengals: Can anyone here get open? Their longest pass of the year since a 39-yard Hail Mary at the end of a half is a tipped 22-yarder. Tight end Tony McGee, Indiana native, has 23 catches, 3 TDs vs. Colts

        Colts: Marvin Harrison didn't play last year when the Colts scored 39 points vs. the Bengals. Rookie free agent Terrence Wilkins has two TDs, tying the Cincy wideouts

        EDGE: Colts

       

OFFENSIVE LINE
        Bengals: They are giving up three sacks a game, but they've got a rookie quarterback who holds the ball and they are grinding out the NFL's No. 7 running game

        Colts: No starter has more than three years experience and they're getting James just 3.8 yards per carry. They've allowed just two sacks, but Manning may get rid of the ball faster than Dan Marino in his prime.

        EDGE: Bengals

       

SPECIAL TEAMS
        Bengals: The Bengals can't wait for injured punter Brad Costello to return. In the mean time, it's a snap waiting for the next disaster

        Colts: Their rookie punter has the NFL's worst net, but they have a nifty return man in Wilkins. Bad Bengals karma. He went to Eric Metcalf's high school.

        EDGE: Colts

       

DEFENSIVE LINE
        Bengals: They got gouged a bit in the running game last week, but are playing much better than last year. Still, with one forced fumble all year, they just don't make a lot of plays, much like the rest of the defense.

        Colts: They bolstered their ends with wise free-agent pickups in Chad Bratzke and Shawn King. Ellis Johnson always gives Cincy problems with his quickness .

        EDGE: Colts

       

LINEBACKERS
        Bengals: Only six tackles separate team leader Brian Simmons and Takeo Spikes, a duo rapidly becoming the soul of a team that has given its heart to Smith

        Colts: Is that a statue built to honor the Bills' great teams of the early 1990s? No, that's a new Colts backer, 34-year-old Cornelius Bennett, still fairly active after all these years.

        EDGE: Bengals

       

SECONDARY
        Bengals: The Colts are a huge concern for a unit allowing the opposing quarterback a passing rating of 104.2, which would make him the third best passer in the NFL

        Colts: The Bengals would like to pick on the 5-8 Tyrone Poole at one corner. Cincy beat the other corner, Jeff Burris, in the exhibition season. His 55-yard interception return last week is 50 more than Cincy's total off interceptions.

        EDGE: Colts

       

COACHING:
       

        Bengals: Bruce Coslet-coached offenses, which made a shambles of the AFC in the ' '80, aren't supposed to score just 41 points in five straight games during the last season of the '90s

        Colts: The Bengals can only hope to duplicate what Jim Mora has done. Be patient with the rookie quarterback for a year and then come out gunning

        EDGE: Colts

       

THE PICK
        The Bengals lost this one when Charles Fisher buckled, Ashley Ambrose chuckled and Corey Sawyer rumbled off to New York, leaving Cincy with no margin of error at cornerback.

        Colts 34, Bengals 18

       



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Akili may lead, but will Bengals follow?
Colts have Bengals in a corner
Bengals-Colts by the numbers
- Who's got the edge?
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