Minnesota Vikings (0-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (0-0)

Where: Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio

When: Sunday, 9/12 @ 1:00 PM

How to watch: FOX TV (Channel 19 in the Cincinnati area)

TV Crew: Chris Myers (play-by-play) Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Jennifer Hale (sideline reporter)

Line: Minnesota -3

Over/Under: 47.5 points

Real, meaningful football is back this Sunday with something it didn’t have last year: full stadiums. Technically speaking, NFL football returned Thursday night in Tampa Bay. But we’re solely concerned about the Bengals for now. And the Vikings, I guess.

No Revenge Game

Trae Waynes, who missed all of last year with a torn pec, has been ruled out due to a lingering hamstring injury suffered in practice. Waynes was looking to suit up for the Bengals for the first time against his former team. He is the only player on the 53 man roster expected to be out on Sunday.

Logan’s Analysis

I have constantly changed my mind about this game over the course of the last month. One day I think the Bengals run the Vikings off of the field and the next day vice versa. So here’s my best and final attempt at breaking this game down. 

The Vikings come to Cincinnati to face a Bengals team that is finally focused on results in front of fans who are energized and beyond excited for everything the team has done. From little things like new uniforms to the reuniting of Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow. There’s no ignoring the 6-25-1 record that Zac Taylor has put up in his 2-year tenure. 

The popular worry that Bengaldom is having right now is simple: how will Dalvin Cook be stopped? However, I think the worry should be more about Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. The answer is far from easy, but it is doable. Play with a lead and force Minnesota into obvious passing situations. Kirk Cousins isn’t a guy any defense should fear. He thrives off of play action passes when the defense is completely guessing. It’s no secret. 

Game flow will be the determining factor in this game. Are the Vikings up by two scores and letting Dalvin Cook shred the Bengals front 7? Or are the Bengals up in the 4th quarter forcing Kirk Cousins to drop back and beat Jessie Bates III in crunch time?

X-Factor: Bengals WRs vs Vikings Secondary

Prediction: If Ja’Marr Chase can hit the ground running and Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins play like we know they can, the Vikings will eventually be forced to throw the ball. Going up against an aging Patrick Peterson and an average-at-best corner in Bashaud Breeland, I believe the Bengals offense does get going. Joe Burrow starts to shake off any rust he may have in the 2nd quarter and the defense makes enough plays to win. I’m confident that D.J. Reader/Larry Ogunjobi/Josh Tupou will slow Dalvin Cook just enough to make Minnesota uncomfortable. The left side of Minnesota’s line won’t hold up late in the game against a mediocre pass rush that I do expect to show up week 1. Joe Mixon gives the Bengals a 24-14 lead in the 3rd quarter and they don’t look back. Minnesota can’t stop the beginning of something special. Cincinnati wins 31-24. 

MVP: Joe Mixon

Logan Vaughn

I write about Cincinnati sports in my free time.

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