Thursday, December 13th, 2012 TV: NFL Network 8:20 EST
The Bengals head into Philadelphia during a critical stretch run for the playoffs against an Eagle team that finally broke an eight game losing streak.
Cincinnati has a record of 7-6 in the AFC North which is good enough for second place, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Pittsburgh currently has an edge on Cincinnati in their head to head matchup, as the Bengals lost the first of two meetings with Pittsburgh. The final meeting will take place, next week, in Pittsburgh.
The Bengals had the Dallas Cowboys on the ropes for much of the game last week, but ultimately fell 20-19 on a last second field goal from Dallas kicker Dan Bailey.
Cincinnati has been impressive defensively as of late. They have held opponents to under 13 points in three out of their last four games.
While the Cincinnati defense has been especially stout as of late, their offense has been stumbling the past few weeks. Second year standouts, quarterback Andy Dalton and wide out A.J. Green have been unbelievable for most of the season but struggled last week against Dallas. Dalton has thrown three interceptions in the past three games – including one against Dallas – and was sacked five times in the loss. A.J. Green has what was possibly his worst performance of the season, catching just three balls for 44 yards and dropping some critical passes.
The Eagles finally found some signs of life last week in Tampa Bay. Now 4-9 on the season, Philadelphia waved goodbye to their playoff dreams long ago and are now just playing for pride. The team finally pulled it together last week and scored a win against a playoff hopeful in Tampa Bay, 23-21.
The effort was led by rookie Nick Foles. The young QB impressed, throwing for 381 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He won the game on the final play, throwing a one yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin in the end zone as time expired.
Previous starter, Michael Vick has been cleared by a concussion specialist after suffering a concussion in a Week 10 game against the Cowboys. Though he is cleared medically, coach Andy Reid has stated that Foles would start the remainder of the season.
However, running back LeSean McCoy has also been cleared from concussion related symptoms and will likely regain his starting position. His backup, rookie Bryce Brown has been impressive in his absence, rushing 43 times for 347 yards and four touchdowns in three games of action. With more concussion related news, Brett Celek suffered a concussion in the win against Tampa Bay and will be inactive this week.
This game opened at Philadelphia +3, and there has been heavy action on the Bengals. The total opened at 46 and is at 45 or 45.5 depending on the book.
This is a close one. The public loves the Bengals in this game – and they might be right – depending on which Eagles team shows up. They have been downright pathetic in certain contests this season, but looked to be coming into their own last week as they took out a playoff contender on the road.
It also may be hard for the Bengals to game plan for Foles and the Eagles offense as there isn’t much footage to review of the young rookie. The Bengal secondary is excellent, but they are susceptible to the run. Philadelphia should have a formidable attack as LeSean McCoy returns to the lineup along with Bryce Brown.
However, we still cannot ignore how shoddy the Eagles defense has been. Giving up 30 points or more in five out of their last six games, this team cannot be trusted to hold a lead. We see plenty of offense from both teams and look for this one to go over the projected total of 45.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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