Tuesday, September 13, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (Week 2, 2011-2012)

The Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos feature two teams that are favorites to be cellar dwellers in their respective divisions. However, the Bengals have a chance to start their season 2-0 with another upset victory. Will the Broncos avoid 0-2?

The early spread on this game is Broncos (-4.5). 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 13, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they’ll unexpectedly change throughout the week.
#0: Last Picks Involving Teams
Cleveland Browns (-6.5) over Cincinnati Bengals (0 of 2)
Oakland Raiders (+3) at Denver Broncos (2 of 2)

#1: Injuries
The Broncos looked weak even before they lost CB Champ Bailey and DE Elvis Dumervil. These guys are questionable along with DT Marcus Thomas, LB D.J. Williams and WR Demaryius Thomas. DE Ty Warren is out indefinitely. Basically, half of their defense is banged up.

The Bengals have a large assortment of issues. CB Kelly Jennings, S Taylor Mays, LB Keith Rivers and CB Adam Jones are just some players who could miss this game. Starting quarterback Andy Dalton could also be inactivated as he’s nursing an injured wrist. That would clear the way for Bruce Gradkowski (Who I think gives them the best chance of winning anyway, especially in this game). 

It is worth mentioning that, with the exception of Dalton, that they did beat the Browns without all these players.

#2: Denver Broncos Rush Defense
Regardless of who the quarterback is, the Bengals will use Cedric Benson. Benson rushed for 125 yards against the Cleveland Browns. He should have another similar performance as the Broncos’ defense is decimated from injuries.

#3: Kyle Orton aerial attack
You might be tricked into thinking that the Broncos have a very good offense if you just go by the stat sheet. They had the NFL’s 7th best passing offense that averaged just over 250 passing yards per game. That’s never translated into points though, much less wins. Kyle Orton was 24/46 with over 300 yards passing against the Raiders. However, many of those yards came during the desperate stages of the game.

Final Predictions:
I don’t see why the Bengals can’t win this game. They have a ground game that can exploit Denver’s rush defense. The Bengals defense is underrated and can hold most teams to 20 points on any given week. Gradkowski knows Denver after playing for Oakland. The Broncos couldn’t beat the Raiders even after 131 penalty yards of 15 penalties.  

Here’s how I feel about this game: Bengals if Gradkowski starts. Broncos if Dalton starts. Either way, I’ll take 4.5. Look for this to be updated later in the week.

UPDATE 9-15-11: Andy Dalton is probably going to start. However, I'm sticking with the Bengals. The Broncos have more injury concerns as the week has progressed and I like the Bengals defense. After Week 1, I don't like anything from Denver.

Against the Spread: Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5)
Straight: Bengals 15, Broncos 10

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