Bengals-Cardinals Preview

The AFC North-leading Bengals take on the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals tonight on Sunday Night Football.

WHAT: Cincinnati Bengals (8-1) at Arizona Cardinals (7-2)

WHEN: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

TV: NBC (announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)

BENGALS KEYS: Even the most well-balanced and potent offenses can't overcome the slew of self-inflicted wounds the Bengals levied upon themselves at home against Houston on Monday night with penalties, dropped passes and turnovers. Order No. 1 for the Bengals is to clean up the nine penalties they committed against the Texans – they can review film from Arizona's win in Seattle last Sunday to see what the Cardinals can do to an offense consistently playing out of unfavorable down-and-distances.

A burgeoning issue for the Bengals is the inability to establish a consistent ground game with the tandem of RBs Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Arizona enters with the NFL's fourth-ranked run defense, so QB Andy Dalton will need to complement the running game with some quick, short passes.

CARDINALS KEYS: The Cardinals' main concerns lies with their offensive line, which has several starters banged up and racing recovery to play Sunday night. Arizona needs as many main blockers on deck as possible with Cincinnati bringing the league's top-ranked scoring defense to town, along with a pass rush that has produced 28 sacks.

Quarterback Carson Palmer has an embarrassment of riches to play catch with, but only if he has time. The Cardinals turned the ball over three times last week and nearly a fourth, mostly due to pressure generated by Seattle. The Cardinals will likely counter with a good diet of RB Chris Johnson against a defense that allows 4.7 yards per carry.

MATCHUP: Bengals WR A.J. Green vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson: Peterson is healthy and back playing at an elite level following a down 2014 season. He'll likely be charged with shadowing Green. Both are former first-round picks and SEC rivals who have not met up since their 2011 rookie seasons.

BENGALS FACTS: Dalton has 23 career road victories, tied with Dan Marino, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan for the most by a quarterback through his first five seasons in the Super Bowl era.

CARDINALS FACTS: Palmer was drafted No. 1 overall by the Bengals in 2003 and played eight seasons for Cincinnati before being traded to Oakland in October 2011 after saying he would retire rather than play for the team again. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has more catches (65) and touchdowns (seven) through nine games than in any of his previous 11 seasons. He has 836 yards receiving.

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