Friday, October 3, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 5: Bengals Vs. Patriots

Cincinnati Bengals Vs. New England Patriots: CIN -1 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Westgate had the Patriots listed as -3 (-120) point favorites in the look-ahead line. In theory, the Patriots were supposed to win (or be competitive) when they went to KC, which would have given us great value on the Bengals this week. Instead, New England not only got exposed, but they did it on national TV. Due to that, this game re-opened as a pick em on Tuesday morning. It quickly got bet up as high as Cincy -2.5, but it never reached -3. It has now come back down and settled at -1. So far 56% of the bets have come in on the Bengals.

Bottom Line

Through four weeks, it's not a surprise that the Bengals have been good, but it is a little shocking that they sit near the top of the NFL based on the early numbers. I didn't know what to expect after they lost both coordinators, but those concerns have been put to bed. At least for now.

The biggest mismatch we have on paper is the Cincy D against the New England O. Rodney Harrison even went as far to say that Tom Brady looks scared on the field. I'm not willing to go that far, but there's no doubt that he looks uncomfortable. His arm strength isn't what it used to be and he doesn't have the mobility to escape the dangers that come at him every other play. I thought that they'd be a much more successful short-passing/rushing team early in the year, but even that hasn't worked out. I don't think they'll be as bad as they were in Week 4, but they'll have their hands full with a very talented and aggressive defense.

On the flip side, the Patriots should fare better going up against Cincy's offense. I still believe this unit can be really good this year despite what we saw on MNF, but they sure need to prove it first. Early in the year, the Bengals offense has been humming along and the Pats will need to decide how to contain both Green and Bernard. For a defense that has had trouble stopping the run, that could be a problem. This has the potential to be a good matchup, but I think the Bengals will be able to put up enough points to secure this win.

If I did have a worry in this game, it would be with Dalton's 2-4 record in prime-time games - and when you include playoff games that record falls to 2-7. That, combined with the home crowd, should give the Patriots a chance to win this game, but I'm willing to bet against it. There's no doubt who the better team is right now.

NFL Pick: CIN -1.

Read more: Week 5 picks