The Cincinnati Bengals travel to the Mile High City in Week 15 third in the AFC North and outside the playoff race. To have a chance at winning the division and reaching the playoffs, they desperately need a win.
Burrow Has to Air It Out
The Bengals offense runs through RB Joe Mixon. He’s first in the league in rushing attempts (245) and second in rushing yards (1,036).
Unfortunately, Mixon hasn’t hit 100 yards in a game in two games. In his last two games, he’s run for 54 and 58 yards. The Denver defense is strong against the run, ranking 10th in average yards allowed per game (106.2).
In the last three games, Denver’s surrendered an average of 93 rushing yards per game and held the Kansas City Chiefs to 89 total rushing yards in Week 13. The Broncos also rank fifth in time of possession (31:36).
If Cincinnati wins this game, I believe it will be on QB Joe Burrow’s arm. They’ll have to use their passing game to spread out Denver’s defense and not allow them to stack the box and focus solely on the run.
The good news for the Bengals is that Burrow has played well. Over his last three, he’s thrown for a total of 838 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bengals Defense Can’t Break
The Denver offense loves to hold on to the ball and grind defenses down with a power running game. They rank 11th in rushing yards per game.
Running backs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III combine for 1,459 rushing yards.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is proving to be an effective game manager with his quarterback rating going over 100 three times in the Broncos’ last five games.
However, the Denver offense ranks 19th in points scored per game (21.2). Why? They’re not an effective red-zone offense, ranking 20th in the league in red-zone touchdown conversions.
Cincy’s defense must withstand long drives. If the Bengals can stall a few Denver possessions and hold them to field goals, they can give Burrow and Mixon more time to work.
Bengals Must Score Early
A key for Denver’s success is their first-half defense. The Broncos rank eighth in first-half points allowed (9.6) and find success by forcing teams into playing catch-up.
In 2021, the Broncos have not won a game where they’ve been behind at the half. Denver’s also not lost a game after leading at the half.
For the Bengals to cover this spread and pull off an upset, they must win the first two quarters.
Are the Bengals the Best of This Week’s Pro Football Underdog Lines?
This week, the pro football underdog lines have Cincinnati at +2.5 in Denver. I think the Bengals can cover this spread and win the game if they can pass the ball effectively and withstand long Broncos drives.
What do you think? Can the Bengals get the win on the road?
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