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New Orleans Saints vs Cincinnati Bengals: game preview

Saints start three-game AFC North swing by hosting Bengals

The New Orleans Saints will look to start a new winning streak at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals at noon.

It will be just the 13th meeting between the teams with the last game being a 34-30 Saints win at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec. 5, 2010. The series is tied at 6-6.

The Saints (4-5) enter Sunday's game coming off a tough 27-24 overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers which ended the team's 11-game winning streak at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bengals (5-3-1) come into the game with a little more rest after losing a Thursday night game to the Cleveland Browns 24-3 on Nov. 6.

The Bengals, coached by Marvin Lewis, are led by quarterback Andy Dalton who has completed 171 of 281 attempts this season for 1,960 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. Mohamed Sanu has been his top target with 41 receptions for 648 yards and four touchdowns. A.J. Green is the team's top receiver but has been somewhat limited this season because of injury. He has 23 receptions for 381 yards and three touchdowns. The former Georgia star, who is in his fourth season with the Bengals, has missed four games this season.

The team's top running back has been Giovani Bernard with 109 carries for 446 yards and five touchdowns but New Orleans sports fans are probably more familiar with the Bengals' second-leading rusher, former LSU star Jeremy Hill. He has carried the ball 86 times for 404 yards (a 4.7 average) and five touchdowns.

Even though the Saints lost last Sunday at home against the 49ers there were a lot of positives to come out of the game. Running back Mark Ingram had his third consecutive 100-yard performance with 27 carries for 120 yards. The last Saints player to break the 100-yard mark in three consecutive games was Deuce McAllister in 2003.

Ingram, who missed three games early in the season with a hand injury, has run 115 times for 551 yards and six touchdowns, all career highs with seven games remaining in the regular season.

Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers. His 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham was Brees' 300th career TD pass as a Saint. Brees had 80 TD passes in his career before arriving in New Orleans in 2006. On the season Brees is 257 of 376 for 2,816 yards and 18 touchdowns. Graham is coming off one of his best games of the season as the tight end grabbed 10 passes for 76 yards and two TDs against the 49ers. He leads the saints with 56 receptions for 594 yards and seven touchdowns.

Rookie receiver Brandin Cooks continues to shine as he grabbed a 31-yard touchdown pass from Brees against the 49ers. He is second on the team in receptions with 48 for 500 yards and three touchdowns.

The Saints' defense continued its strong play against the 49ers at it held San Francisco to 330 yards and sacked quarterback Colin Kaepernick four times while forcing one fumble. Defensive end Cameron Jordan had at least one sack for a third consecutive game. He has four sacks in the past three games.

Sunday's game against the Bengals will be the first of three consecutive games against AFC North opponents. The Saints will play the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, Nov. 24 and will play at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Nov. 30.

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