Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther understands what the tape says about his group. The defense ranks third in the league in yards allowed per pass play, but 11th against the run.

Guenther also knows very well this three-game road trip kicking off Sunday in Jacksonville determines whether the Bengals will play meaningful games in December or spend the holidays auditioning for jobs. The road comes paved with run-heavy teams.

Does he expect to face more of the same philosophy?

"Absolutely," he said while sitting in the Bengals media room with reporters this week.

Time to hit rewind on the pass-happy NFL. Guenther turns from his chair toward Bengals guard from the 70s and 80s and current radio analyst Dave Lapham. "The running game is coming back, Dave!"

Is it ever.

But can the Bengals stop it?

A blueprint to beat the Bengals means avoid their nickel pass rush, run the ball. Allow Carl Lawson, Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson to tee off chasing the quarterback and trouble will follow.