A battle of division leaders takes place on Monday Night Football when the Denver Broncos take on the Cincinnati Bengals tonight. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have the Broncos favored on the road by a field goal.
Both Denver and Cincinnati are going to get into the playoffs, but a win here for the Bengals would certainly help their chances. Currently the Bengals are slotted as a third seed while Denver is the No. 2 in the AFC behind New England. Certainly the Broncos want to win their final two games of the season in order to finish the season with a first round bye in the playoffs.
Peyton Manning has never lost to the Bengals, going 8-0 in his career against them. Denver also owns a pretty good mark over Cincinnati, having won 13 of the last 15 meetings between the teams. The Broncos are really playing well, winners of four straight games overall as the defense has helped guide Denver to wins the last three games, holding KC, Buffalo and San Diego all under 17 points.
Cincinnati's defense has played well in four of their last five games. During that stretch the Bengals held New Orleans, Houston, Tampa Bay and Cleveland to a combined 36 points, winning all four games. The one problem was a 42-21 loss to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, but Cincinnati did rebound to dominate against the Cleveland Browns in a 30-0 win last week.
Denver is running the football better, Cincinnati has been good all season at running the football. Look for the team with the better overall running game to have the edge tonight. Denver's rush defense ranks second best in the league at allowing just 72 yards per game.
The Bengals have been utilizing both Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard well while Andy Dalton has not had a good season. A.J. Green has been catching everything thrown his way, but Dalton just doesn't seem to be at 100 percent.
The Broncos big receivers could have an impact tonight, too. Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (not big) have combined for 2,500 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns. They will challenge the Bengals defense tonight. Give the edge to Manning and the Broncos.
Free Pick: Denver 28, Cincinnati 24
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