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Sunday afternoon on the NFL gridiron and the AFC West will tangle with the AFC North as the Denver Broncos invade Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos come in having won their last two games in a row, while the Bengals have lost their last three games.
Broncos Look To Stay In Playoff Race
The Los Angeles Chargers have a tight grip on one of the AFC Wildcard slot, but after them is a group of teams at 6-5. Then we have the Broncos at 5-6, so they are very much still in the race for a playoff spot and they have a shot at staying in the race against a Cincinnati team that may have thrown in the towel. The Broncos come in riding a modest two-game win streak and now have a shot at .500 after a 3-6 start. Their little win streak began with a miracle road win over the Chargers and they followed that up with a hard-fought 24-17 home win over the Steelers.
The Broncos were outained 527-308 in the game and saw Ben Roethlisberger throw for 462 yards on those, but the Broncos won the turnover battle 4-0 and that was the difference in the game. Case Keenum threw for 197 yards with two TDs and no INTs and he has now thrown for 282 yards with 13 TDs and 10 INTs on the year. Philip Lindsay had a big game against Pittsburgh as he ran for 110 yards and a TD. The undrafted rookie has now rushed for 780 yards and six TDs on the year. Both Linsay and Keenum could have strong outings against a struggling defense in this one. Denver comes in ranked 15th in passing, 10th in rushing and 19th in scoring (22.9 ppg). On defense, they are 24th against the pass, 24th against the run and 13th in points allowed (22.9 ppg).
Bengals Have Struggled After A Hot Start
Every year it seems that Marvin Lewis is on the hot seat and every year he seems to find a way to keep his job. Could this be the year that he finally loses it? The Bengals began the season at 4-1, but they have since lost five of their last six games, including their last three in a row. Their current losing streak began with a 51-14 home loss to the Saints at that game prompted the firing of their defensive coordinator. That is understandable as the defense ranks dead last in the league in yards allowed, 31st against the pass, 31st against the run and 32nd in points allowed, giving up 31.5 ppg
Last week may have been the final nail in the coffin for Lewis as they lost at home to the Browns by a score of 35-20 here at home. The Bengals had a 362-342 yardage edge in the game, but two costly turnovers and 13 penalties for 96 yards did them in. Penalties are a lack of focus and that could be the sign of a team that has given up. The Bengals are still just a game out of a wildcard slot, so they are not out of it, but they do not have the look of a team that will stay in it much longer. Making Matters worse is that AJ Green is still day-to-day and Andy Dalton is now on injured reserve after leaving last weeks game win a thumb injury. Jeff Driskel has thrown for 239 yards with a TD and no INT on the year and will take over. The Bengals are 17th in passing, 28th in rushing and 12th in scoring at 25.1 ppg.
The Bengals are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf.
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss of more than 14 points
The Broncos are:
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 13
- The road team is 7-1 ATS the last eight games in this series