Game Plan and Matchups vs. Bengals

There aren't many individual matchups better than Champ Bailey vs. receiver Chad Johnson. The Denver Broncos haven't moved Bailey around much this season to shadow the other team's best receiver, instead leaving him on the left side most of the time. This will likely be an exception. The last time Bailey played Johnson, Johnson had a big game.

SERIES HISTORY: 24th meeting. The Broncos lead the series, 15-8. The Broncos are 10-2 at home against Cincinnati. The last four games in the series have been at Cincinnati. The last time the Bengals played at Denver was 1997.

GAME PLAN: The Broncos didn't run the ball well against Arizona last week, but would love to establish the run against Cincinnati. That would keep the Bengals' offense off the field as much as possible. After Indianapolis passed so well against the Bengals, expect a lot of short passes from the Broncos as well.

Defensively, the Broncos will concentrate on stopping Rudi Johnson and hope that the defensive backs, led by cornerback Champ Bailey, has success against the Bengals' talented receivers. Getting a pass rush against Carson Palmer in passing situations is crucial.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos CB Champ Bailey vs. Bengals WR Chad Johnson. There aren't many individual matchups better than this one. The Broncos haven't moved Bailey around much this season to shadow the other team's best receiver, instead leaving him on the left side most of the time. This will likely be an exception. The last time Bailey played Johnson, Johnson had a big game. In a 2004 game against Denver, Johnson had seven catches for 149 yards.

--Bengals CB Deltha O'Neal vs. Broncos WRs Javon Walker and Rod Smith. O'Neal has been inconsistent, and the Broncos know O'Neal well. He is a former Broncos first-round pick, and was traded to the Bengals before the 2004 season, after a few frustrating years in Denver. But expect O'Neal to be at his best. When the Broncos played at Cincinnati in 2004, O'Neal got an interception.

INJURY IMPACT: WR Javon Walker didn't practice Wednesday because of a separated shoulder. The injury isn't serious and he should play Sunday. He's probable on the injury report.

--CB Darrent Williams returned to practice Wednesday and should be ready to play. The Broncos didn't want him to set his toe injury back by playing against Arizona, so he was held out.

--OT Adam Meadows appears close to coming back. Meadows has been out since Thanksgiving because of a hamstring injury, but he is probable on the injury report.



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