Tuesday, September 20, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals (Week 3, 2011-2012)

The Cincinnati Bengals will start their home schedule against the San Francisco 49ers. One of these teams will get off to a somewhat surprising 2-1 start. Will the 49ers finally win a road game or will the Bengals prevail as favorites? 

The early spread on this game is Bengals (-2.5). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper's Pick and Injury Reports from covers.com as of September 20, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they’ll unexpectedly change throughout the week.

#1: Injuries
This will be the second consecutive week that the 49ers play a team with a injury-depleted defensive backfield. S Taylor Mays, CB Kelly Jennings and CB Pacman Jones could all miss this game. Jordan Shipley was recently put on IR with a torn ACL. DE Robert Geathers and LB Keith Rivers are both recovering from injuries. 

Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards are both questionable for the 49ers with foot and knee injuries. That should allow the Bengals to focus more on TE Vernon Davis.

#2: NFC West vs. The Road
The NFC West was 6-27 in road games last season. They've started 0-4 this season. This will be the 49ers first road game and the Bengals home-opener.

#3: 49ers Run Defense
Led by Patrick Willis, the 49ers have the NFL's no. 1 rushing defense. They've surrendered 54.5 yards per game. That should cripple a Bengals offense that basically relies on Cedric Benson for its offensive production while Andrew Dalton matures into the offense.

#4: A.J. Green
The 49ers' secondary prevents this from being an elite defense. They surrendered 143 receiving yards to Miles Austin, 102 yards to Jason Witten and 96 more to WR Jesse Holley.

The Bengals do have some talented receivers. A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson have combined for 19 receptions for 345 yards in the first two games.

Final Predictions:
I feel like the Bengals will do the opposite of whatever I say. The 49ers are a better team and I think Andrew Dalton is going to have difficulty against that front seven. This is about as winnable of a road game as a NFC West team will get. With 2 1/2 points, I'm rolling with the 49ers.

Against the Spread: San Francisco 49ers (+2.5)
Straight: San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 13

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