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Bengals vs Vikings
3* Key Release
Vikings Favored by 6.5 at Sportsbook.com
We wrote an article this week that will give you a better understanding of why we like the Bengals this week over the Vikings. You can read that article here. In the meantime, we'll summarize here, and will try to be brief.
What probably sticks out the most in this matchup of two playoff teams and likely division winners, is their schedule. Specifically, the padding of their schedule and stats with wins over weak teams. They are both guilty of it. Not their faults of course. But it is what it is.
Take a look at the Vikings. 10-2, that's fantastic. But take the bad teams out of the equation and you get a bit of a different story. Let's see what they did against teams we would consider "good".
San Fran 27-24
Green Bay 30-23
@ Pitt 17-27
@ Green Bay 38-26
@ Arizona 17-30
Against good teams they are 4-2 with an average score in those games of 27-27
Now Let's take a look at the Bengals.
@ GB 31-24
@ Balt 17-14
@ Pitt 18-12
That comes out to 5-1 with an average score of 19-15. Note that Green Bay, Baltimore and Pittsburgh appear on both teams dance cards. There's just nothing there that stands out and suggests that the Vikings are a dominant 10-2 team that should be feared come playoff time. They are a very beatable 10-2 team. The numbers you see thrown around in the press such as #3 ranked rushing defense, etc.etc. don't always tell the whole story. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper.
The Vikings beat one "good" team by more than a touchdown. The Bengals lone loss against a "good" teams came by 5 points early in the year to the Broncos.
The Bengals are allowing the fewest points per game in the entire NFL. They will be without Domata Peko who is a major force on that defense, but they still figure to play this game tight.
The game is not without concern though. The fact that it's in Minnesota and in a dome bothers us. This Bengal team has the perfect makeup for cold weather games. They are built for just the type of weather you're likely to see in Cinci in December and January. The problem with that makeup here is that in a game against a team like the Vikings who are averaging 30 points per game, if they fall behind early they'll be hard pressed to comeback.
Bottom line for us though, is we simply feel fewer points separates these two than the line indicates. It's a huge game between two teams looking to lock up playoff spots and division titles and it's a game that will go a long way towards each teams chances come playoff time. We'll no doubt learn plenty about these two this week.
We'd love to have +7 here, but will still play it all the way down to +6. 3* Bengals +6.5 over Vikings
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