Bengals Colts Wildcard

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Bengals

vs.

Colts

AFC Wildcard

Playoff Pick

1/4/15

The Colts will host the Bengals in the early Wildcard Game on Sunday. The Game kicks off at 1pm est. with the Colts and Andrew LUck a -3.5 point favorite over the visiting Bengals. Of all of the sides we like this weekend in the Wildcard Games, the Bengals will be the toughest to make a case for, on paper.

The Bengals return to the scene of their worst defeat of the year. Back in October, they lost here in Indy by a score of 27-0 and didn’t even manage to cross midfield until the 4th quarter. AJ Green was sidelined in that Game and there’s still a chance he’ll miss this weeks Game, though he has practiced this week and as of this writing on Friday, is waiting to be cleared by Doctors to play.

So naturally, this Game will be just like the first one and Andrew LUck and the Colts will dominate and be on their way to the next round, right? Well, maybe not. In the NFL, no two Games are ever the same. Any NFL is capable of making adjustments and changing Game plans which can change results drastically, especially playoff teams.

The first time around, the Bengals running Game was non existent. They rushed the ball 12 times for a grand total of 32 yards. The Bengals made some changes in the backfield after that loss and put much more emphasis on the running Game. Enter Jeremy Hill and a 7-3 record down the stretch with Hill leading the NFL in rushing in December. This is the time of year when being able to run the ball wins football Games. There lies the key in this Game for the Bengals.

again, this time of year, you need to be able to run the ball. The Bengals have been one of the best in the league over the 2nd half of the season doing just that. In fact, even taking the entire season into consideration, the Bengals rank 6th overall and they’re in good company. The two best rushing teams in the NFL this year have been Seattle and Dallas.

Andy Dalton catches plenty of heat for the past Bengals playoff losses, but let’s face it, those losses aren’t on Andy Dalton. Those are TEAM losses. If the Bengals can continue to do what they’ve done well since their loss to the Colts in October, Andy Dalton will be just fine.

One of the things we like to do with Our NFL model, is run stats using different time frames. Naturally, we run season to date stats, but we also run the last 7 Games and the last 4 Games just to show a teams current form. Being able to measure a teams current form is crucial at any point during the season, but it’s especially helpful come playoff time. How are these teams playing RIGHT NOW.

When we run this Game through Our model using the entire season, it comes up 28-23 with Indy on to. No blowout, but an Indy win nonetheless. However, when using data from only the last 7 Games, we get a 28-19 Cincinnati win and when using only the last 4 Games, it comes up Cinci 32-17.

The Bengals are a different team than the one that lost 27-0 here back in October and the model is picking up on that. The Colts have Andrew LUck and the home field, which is significant, but the feeling here is that the Bengals have the more complete team on both sides of the ball. The Bengals showed what they can do against a QB of LUcks caliber when they knocked off Peyton Manning and the Broncos a couple of weeks ago, albeit at home. Just as the Dallas Cowboys showed how important the running Game is in their 42-7 route of the Colts. In that Game the Cowboys had a modest 113 yards rushing but held the Colts to just 1 rushing yard.

This one is likely close, but we’re going with the Bengals to pull the upset as Andy Dalton notches his first playoff win and the fraNChise gets their first playoff “W” since the early 90’s. Bengals +3.5

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