Bengals' defense may prove suspect

A close look at Cincinnati's defensive numbers reveals that Carson Palmer may need to win shootouts in the playoffs.

Updated: May 24, 2007, 11:36 AM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
What do we make of the Cincinnati Bengals' defense? Cincinnati's defense ranks 19th in the league in points allowed, which might seem like a reasonable number given that their offensive prowess forces opponents to adopt more aggressive game plans to keep up.

However, Cincinnati's defense has been porous in recent games. The unit has allowed 29 or more points in four of the last six contests. Three of these have come against Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, teams that don't have high-powered offenses. The Bengals have even allowed 17 and 20 points to the anemic Lions and Browns, respectively, in this period.

Can this defense keep Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson from having to win every playoff game in a shoot-out? I did a metric analysis of all 15 games from this season to find out, and the answers aren't encouraging.

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