The Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos play in the coaching hot-seat bowl, as Marvin Lewis and Vance Joseph hope to keep their jobs at the end of the year. Joseph has in only been in Denver for a year, but his job is already on the line. Marvin Lewis has been on the verge of being fired for what feels like forever now. Lewis was hired way back in 2003 and has been the head coach since.
They’ve had some good regular seasons under Lewis. However, the Bengals are still searching for a playoff win under him. They were seconds away from defeating the Steelers a couple of years ago in the Wild Card Round, but they bungled it up and committed personal foul after personal foul on the Steelers’ final drive. Embarrassing loss for the Bengals who had a playoff win right there in front of them. That was the closest they’ve come, and it was AJ McCarron, not Andy Dalton starting.
McCarron filled in for Dalton after he had to sit out with an injury. He handled it well, and looking back, you thought he was going to have the opportunity to be a starter by now. Either in Cincinnati or elsewhere, but he’s still playing second-fiddle to Andy Dalton. For a second, it looked like his opportunity was going to come in Cleveland, but the trade fell through due to paperwork errors. It may have been for the better, as going to play for the Browns may have been a death sentence. Nevertheless, McCarron really wants to have a chance to showcase his abilities as a starting quarterback.
The Bengals’ offense has ranked near the back of the NFL this season, so it wouldn’t hurt to give him a shot at this point. Like I’ve said, though, they’ve spent a lot of money on Andy Dalton, and it’ll take an injury or a complete disaster to get benched. Also, this isn’t an Andy Dalton issue on offense, it’s the entire team. Dalton has thrown 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions with a 62% completion percentage.
That is not enough to see the bench, especially with poor quarterback play in the NFL today. He hasn’t been earning the money he’s being paid, but Dalton has been competent. Part of the problem stems from a lack of a running game. Joe Mixon is expected to be their feature back of the future, but he’s just a rookie right now and still learning the ropes of the NFL. It will take another year or two for their running game to develop.
The Broncos will look to come back strong after crapping their pants the last two weeks. The Eagles blew them out, 51-23, and then the Patriots took advantage of mistakes to win, 41-16. 92 points allowed in just two weeks is unheard of with this Bronco defensive unit. It is no surprise that Vance Joseph is on the hot-seat after two embarrassing performances in a row. Including the Chiefs game, the Broncos have allowed 40.3 points per game in their last three. That must change. No offense to Brock Osweiler, but he isn’t going to win shootouts very often. Denver needs their defense to perform. Get our free Bengals vs. Broncos pick below.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Denver Broncos Betting Odds:
vs. Broncos -2.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals vs. Broncos Pick:
For once, Osweiler cannot be blamed for losses. Could he have played better against the Eagles and Patriots? Certainly, but the idea is for him to manage games and let the defense go out there and make plays. Osweiler isn’t being asked to throw 3 or 4 touchdowns and throw for 400 yards a game. That would be nice, but that isn’t the Bronco’s identity. Last week was a case of making too many mistakes. After the muffed punt return, their body language looked completely different from that first series. The Broncos forced the Pats into a 3 and out to open the game, but that was the only time they looked right.
Their defense still unbelievably ranks among the top teams in the NFL. Overall on the year, they’re allowing 293.6 yards per game, 4th in the NFL. However, they are giving up points in bunches. They’ve allowed 26.6 points per game, which is 29th in the league. The Broncos’ special team’s unit did nothing to help them out against the Patriots. Besides the muffed return, they allowed a kick return, a blocked punt, and too many men on the field on a 4th and 5. How’s that for team morale?
The Bengals are playing their third in a row on the road. From Jacksonville, to Tennessee, and now Denver. They’ve gone 0-2 with a 23-7 loss to the Jags and 24-20 against the Titans. The Broncos losing streak has hit five games, which began with an awful loss to the Giants at home.
After a 3-1 start, including wins over the Cowboys and Raiders, it looked like they’d be fine this year. This is a big game for the Broncos’ defense. Getting exploited by the Eagles and Patriots is one thing, but the Bengals? The Bengals are 32nd offensively, averaging just 274 yards and 16.6 points per game. They are gaining just 70.1 yards per game on the ground. I expect Denver to get back to basics and shut down the Bengals’ running attack. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell should be good to go, but will enter Sunday as questionable. Corner Pacman Jones has already been ruled out. It’s a matter of pride for the Denver defense at this point. The last time the Bengals won in Denver was on November 9th, 1975. I think they can finally put together a complete performance against a Cincinnati team who are playing their third straight away from home.
PICK: BRONCOS -2.5 (-110)