By Kevin McGuire

After suffering their first home loss of the season in Week 12, the Philadelphia Eagles look to win a game in a city they’ve never won in before. The Eagles visit the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon, and both teams are in desperate need of a victory. The Bengals have been struggling on offense over the last month and have faded out of the AFC playoff picture, but they still pose a viable threat to the Eagles, who are going through a number of issues themselves.

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Bengals Season Record: 3-7-1

The Bengals are in quite the rut right now. Entering Sunday’s game, Cincinnati will have lost three straight games and are without a win in their last four games, thanks to a tie with Washington in Week 8. After starting the season 2-2, the Bengals have won just once, and that was against the Cleveland Browns. But, don’t let the lack of wins fool you, because Cincinnati has played some tight games during this current losing streak. Their three losses have come by a combined 10 points.

The Bengals lead the all-time series with the Eagles, 8-3-1. The last time the Eagles scored a win was in 2000. Philadelphia is 0-3-1 in Cincinnati, with a tie in their most recent trip in 2008.

Bengals on Offense

The Bengals have not scored more than 20 points in a game in the last three games, and have been held to fewer than 20 points in a game six times this season. With a scoring average of just 19.2 points per game, the Bengals rank 27th in the league in scoring offense. That figures to bode well for the Eagles if they can get back to playing the kind of defense they had early in the season.

Quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown for over 3,000 yards, but he is prone to make mistakes—as he did last weekend against the Ravens. Look for the Eagles to try to get in his face to get him to move out of the pocket to apply pressure.

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Wide receiver A.J. Green did not play last week due to a hamstring injury.

Bengals on Defense

The Bengals defense has managed to keep games within reach while the offense has been struggling. Cincinnati has held their opponents to fewer than 20 points in each of the last two games and held the Giants to 21 points in a loss before that. The Bengals can give up yards, however. They rank 23rd in the NFL in yards allowed per game (366.5).

Bengals Players to Watch

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict: Give it some time and Vontaze Burfict will find a way to cross the line with his style of play. Whether that means a dirty hit or just some excessive trash-talking to stir things up, Burfict can be a nuisance. Keeping cool will be essential if he tries to play that way.


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Eagles fans should look at this game as a favorable match-up, but coming off a woeful showing on Monday night and hitting the road on a short week leaves you wondering if they are capable of taking advantage of a down year by the Bengals. The status of AJ Green will be important, but the Bengals are due to have a solid performance, and playing at home this week against the sliding Eagles may actually be the medicine they need to cure some of their ills. It is desperation mode for both teams, and the Bengals may have just a little bit more to offer than the Birds this week.