Friday, December 19, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 16: Broncos Vs Bengals

Denver Broncos Vs. Cincinnati Bengals: DEN -3 (-115) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

Westgate had the Broncos as -4 point favorites in the advanced line, but it reopened at -3.5 at +100 after Week 15 action. On Tuesday, it moved to -3, and it currently sits there with some extra juice. Will it move back to -3.5?  I think so, especially given who the teams are.  Right now, 73% of bets are on the Broncos.



Bottom Line

I could just type "Andy Dalton in prime-time" and call it a day for this write-up.  What would be the counter-argument?  Is there one?

Earlier this season I was fooled into believing that the Bengals had enough talent on both sides of the ball to win and cover their prime-time games, but as soon as the games started it become abundantly clear that Dalton hasn't overcome his bright lights stage fright. In fact, he put up one of the worst statistical performances by a QB in NFL history when he faced the Browns on Thursday Night Football.  Is this the game where he shakes free and puts up a clutch performance?

Matchup-wise, it's an interesting game. Like the Seahawks, the Broncos D is top 10 in every category except inside the red zone. Can the Bengals capitalize on that?  They are 9th best at converting red zone chances into TDs, but they are 23rd on 3rd/4th down.

It gets worse for Cincy when the Broncos have the ball. The Bengals D ranks average across the board, which is usually not going to be enough when Peyton Manning is on the other side of the field. Keep in mind, this is a defensive unit that completely collapsed and gave up 25 fourth quarter points to Pittsburgh just two weeks ago. At home no less.

So if Cincy's O have trouble sustaining drives, and can't get off the field on D, how will they win this game?

I can't come up with an answer for that, and I'm a bit surprised that we are getting the option of -3 in this spot.  I think the books had it right the first time when they had this number at -4.

NFL pick: DEN -3.

Read more: Week 16 picks.