Last night we were bang-on with an easy Rams winner against Cleveland. The Rams defense was up for the challenge and looked as advertised, and though Sam Bradford was injured, his back-ups filled in admirably in his place. It remains to be seen the severity of Bradford’s injury, though there are whispers he has re-torn his ACL. For Cleveland, while Manziel and Hoyer were a bit better in terms of completions and efficiency, their impact was not overly substantial against a formidable Rams’ defensive front.
Tonight we will switch our focus to a nice match-up on the nationally televised Sunday Night Football. Two squads with heavy playoff aspirations will square off as Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals travel south to take on an injury depleted Arizona Cardinals squad. This game also marks the return of influential defensive player Geno Atkins for Cincinnati. The Bengals already have a strong defensive unit, but welcoming Atkins back from an ACL injury will only help this team tonight, and for the rest of the season as well. It promises to be an intriguing Sunday night battle, so read on below for our featured selection.
Bengals vs. Cardinals Betting Odds:
Cincinnati Bengals +3 (-115)
@ Arizona Cardinals -3 (-105)
Over 42 (-110)
Under 42 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals vs. Cardinals Pick:
It’s been three straight seasons of the same for the Cincinnati Bengals and you can bet they’ll be looking for change in 2014. Three straight wild-card round losses for the Bengals has this team thinking much bigger this year, and they definitely have the talent to do it. A solid offensive attack led by Andy Dalton and A.J, Green, with an excellent defensive unit, Cincy will be able to show a lot of their talent tonight as their first-teamers are expected to go for around two-and-a-half quarters against the Cardinals. Meanwhile, for Arizona it seems as if their starters likely won’t play at all in the second half. They’ve had some tough pre-season injuries, mainly to Darnell Dockett, and don’t want to further accentuate those issues.
One huge bright spot for Cincinnati this season has been the play of their first-team attack. Andy Dalton has simply been prolific against other starting defenses thus far and that should continue against a depleted Arizona defense. Watching Patrick Peterson go up against A.J. Green will be fun, but side with the depth of the Bengals receivers to cause some noise on Sunday evening.
Expect the Bengals to get out to an early lead and maintain that throughout the game. Out of all the teams this pre-season, perhaps aside from Seattle, the Bengals’ starters have looked remarkable. That should continue in the first two quarters, and it’s up to their reserves to maintain that in the second half. They haven’t played to their potential of late, and expect an improved performance against Arizona. That unit should receive a boost with back-up QB Jason Campbell returning from injury. Campbell has been a capable starter in this league in the past, and he should be able to provide some life and movement for Cincinnati in the second half.
While Carson Palmer has also looked pretty solid thus far, going against the dominant defense the Bengals will show him should make for a rude awakening. Cincinnati is simply clicking on all cylinders and this is a squad that deserves more respect. Playing on a nationally televised, Sunday night game will have them motivated, and look for their very best efforts against the Cardinals. Andy Dalton has scored on all four of his drives thus far in the pre-season and look for that efficiency to continue. Being given three points is a nice price for the road team in this one. Back the Bengals, especially with their starters expected to be going a bit longer in this one.
PICK = Bengals +3 (-115)