National Football League
Preview
Cincinnati at Tampa Bay
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, November 30, 2014
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

With four wins in their last five games, the Cincinnati Bengals seemed to have righted the ship following a concerning three-game stretch in which they got waxed by New England and Indianapolis and tied a very mediocre Carolina squad. But the AFC North Division leaders' can't afford a letdown when they visit the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Bengals followed an impressive 27-10 road triumph over New Orleans with another road win last wee, 22-13 at Houston.

Cincinnati has a one-half game lead over Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland and ends the season with two games versus the Steelers, one against the Browns and another versus Denver, so the Bengals can't afford to misstep on Sunday. “The only one that matters is the one right here, because we control everything, and that’s all we have to worry about," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "This is what you play for. This is the way it’s supposed to be every year … and now to take advantage of this position." The Buccaneers lost for the sixth time in seven games with a 21-13 setback to Chicago last Sunday, and have topped 20 points just three times all season.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bengals -3.5 O/U: 44

ABOUT THE BENGALS (7-3-1): The Bengals have been buoyed by the return to form by A.J. Green (toe), who had a career-high 12 receptions last week and has 18 catches for 248 yards in the last two contests. Cincinnati has converted 60.6 percent of third downs - second in the league - in the last two weeks after making just 35 percent in its first nine games - 29th best. The 24th-ranked defense also rebounded last week, yielding a season-low 248 yards to the Texans.

ABOUT THE BUCS (2-9): Josh McCown and Mike Glennon have not been the answer at quarterback, combining for a passer rating of 80.5 - second lowest in the NFC to the Vikings. McCown threw for 341 yards against the Bears, but he threw two critical interceptions and lost a fumble as the Bucs squandered a 10-0 third-period lead. Despite the uneven quarterback situation, Tampa Bay still has a chance in the abysmal NFC South, which has New Orleans and Atlanta at 4-7 and Carolina at 3-7-1. "We are still in the playoff hunt," coach Lovie Smith said earlier this week. "Everyone in the NFC South is disappointed and has let games get away and feel like they're a pretty good football team - we're right in the mix of that."

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Bengals will be without starting LT Andre Smith (triceps) for the rest of the season, a key member of an offensive line that has allowed the third-lowest sack percentage (3.7) in the NFL.

2. Bucs rookie WR Mike Evans is three TD receptions away from tying the club record of 11, set by Mike Williams in 2010.

3. The Bengals rank 27th against the run (129.6) but their biggest concern on defense is a pass rush that ranks last in the NFL in sack percentage (3.2 percent) after ranking in the top half of the league the past three seasons.

PREDICTION: Bengals 27, Buccaneers 14

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Cincinnati 7-3-1 W2 22.4 21.3 4-1-1 3-2 1-0 6-3-1 0-0-1 2-1 5-3
Tampa Bay 2-9 L1 18.8 27.3 0-5 2-4 2-7 0-2 0-2 0-4 1-7
Last Meeting
Cincinnati Tampa Bay
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/10/10 TB 24 CIN 21 358 149 209 391 125 266
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cincinnati C. Palmer 58.3 209 2 3
Tampa Bay J. Freeman 60.6 280 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati C. Benson 23 144 6.3 0
Tampa Bay E. Graham 3 65 21.7 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati T. Owens 7 102 14.6 1
Tampa Bay M. Williams 7 99 14.1 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Cincinnati J. Gresham 1
Tampa Bay E. Graham 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cincinnati A. Dalton 62.4 2413 12 10
Tampa Bay M. Glennon 57.6 1417 10 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati J. Hill 131 643 4.9 6
Tampa Bay B. Rainey 93 395 4.2 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati M. Sanu 49 719 14.7 5
Tampa Bay M. Evans 49 841 17.2 8
Touchdowns Player TD
Cincinnati J. Hill 6
Tampa Bay M. Evans 8