Cincinnati still has a chance to sneak into the AFC playoff but they can’t afford a loss on Thursday when they travel to Philadelphia. Even though the Eagles have shown signs of life in recent weeks, they have still been one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. If the Bengals are to truly be a playoff contender on the football betting lines, they need to win and cover on Thursday.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Odds: Bengals -4
How The Bengals Can Win
The Bengals were facing an emotional Dallas team that had been through a rough week after the death of one player and the jailing of another for drunk driving, and it was always going to be a battle to play a team who are playing for something bigger than football. It was still a solid game from the 7-6 Bengals, who are tied with Pittsburgh in record in the race for the final spot in the AFC, but the Steelers win the tiebreaker on head-to-head wins. The Bengals need a big game from QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green if they’re going to come away with a huge win on the road, as the Philadelphia secondary can be exposed and a few big plays will hurt the Eagles’ confidence and turn the rowdy Philly crowd on the players (which wouldn’t take much at this point).
How The Eagles Can Win
The Eagles snapped a eight-game skid with a victory at Tampa Bay to go to 4-9, and you can officially amp up the quarterback-controversy noise after Nick Foles completed 32 of his 51 pass attempts for 381 yards, two touchdowns and no picks, and one of those touchdowns came on the final play of the game. Michael Vick can join Andy Reid on the hot seat and the two are likely out of Philly in the offseason and as Vick continues to sit with concussion problems, Foles is starting to get comfortable and is looking to at least steady the team down the stretch.
Outlook & Pick
Cincinnati is a deserving favorite in this Thursday nighter, and the Bengals have covered in their last five meetings with the Eagles since 1992. The Bengals have covered four of their seven games against teams with losing records this season, and the Eagles have failed to cover seven lines between -3 and +3 so far in 2012
Foles is still a rookie and the Bengals are seventh in the league in defense, so they’ll look to get as much pressure on him as possible. The Eagles still gave up six sacks in the win over Tampa Bay and their line has been terrible all year. Philly QBs have now been sacked 41.0 times in 2012, and the Bengals’ 42.0 sacks lead the league. It could be a long night for Foles on a short week. The Cincy pass rush should start to gain control and emerge out of Philadelphia with an important NFL betting win on Thursday night.
Pick: Bengals -4