Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/9/12

Cincinnati Bengals: Last season a pair of rookies in Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were able to surprise the league and led the Cincinnati Bengals to a nine win season and the playoffs.

Only the third playoff appearance in the past 21 years, the rookie duo practically saved coach Marvin Lewis his job.

After losing Cedric Benson and the dreaded sophomore slump in line for both Dalton and Green, many are believing that the offense will take a step back. Time will only tell.

The Week 1 match-up is against the always strong Baltimore Ravens defense. With Bernard Scott already being ruled out BenJarvus Green-Ellis is in line for an expanded role but can't be an attractive start against Baltimore.

A.J. Green is an animal and can be started week in and week out with confidence, a.k.a. "start your studs!"

Good starts: A.J. Green

Middle of the road: Jermaine Gresham

Bad starts: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Andy Dalton, Brandon Tate, Mohammed Sanu


Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens' offense has always been a weak point for the Ravens but with a new offensive scheme implying the "sugar huddle," a variation of the no-huddle.

Joe Flacco and company have looked very impressive this preseason and already seem comfortable in the new scheme.

If the team can get the offense rolling and the defense stays at the top this Baltimore team can make some real noise this season.

Facing the Bengals this week will be no small task but will show if the offense is ready to take that next step.

Torrey Smith has proven to be Joe Flacco's favorite target thus far and is a legitimate deep threat. Anquan Boldin is moving back to his natural position and playing in the slot after the acquisition of outside receiver Jacoby Jones.

Ray Rice is coming off an amazing campaign and should do nothing but repeat that this year as this offense improves by leaps and bounds.


Good starts: Ray Rice, Torrey Smith

Middle of the road: Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Ed Dickson

Bad starts: Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones

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