2015 NFL Week 16 – Monday night football- Bengals at Broncos

The Bengals are headed to the playoffs while the Broncos on the verge of clinching a berth, but each team is down to their second-string quarterback for the immediate future. Denver led the AFC West with a 7-0 record halfway through the season, but Kansas City has made this division race interesting with one week remaining. The Chiefs held off the Browns on Sunday to improve to 10-5 and pull within a half-game of first place in the AFC West. Now, if Denver wins its final two games or Kansas City loses to Oakland next week, the Broncos will wrap up their fifth straight division title.

Cincinnati (11-3 SU, 11-2-1 ATS) travels west for the second straight week, coming off last Sunday’s 24-14 triumph at San Francisco to cash as seven-point favorites. A.J. McCarronstepped in for the injured Andy Dalton as the former Alabama quarterback threw for 192 yards and a touchdown to give the Bengals their third win over an NFC West foe this season. Cincinnati built a 24-0 advantage before San Francisco reached the end zone twice in the second half, while forcing four 49ers turnovers.

Two weeks ago, Denver (10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS) was in a prime spot to capture the top seed in the AFC playoffs as long as it finished December strong. However, Gary Kubiak’s team has lost back-to-back games to the Raiders and Steelers to potentially falling into a Wild Card spot. In last Sunday’s 34-27 setback at Pittsburgh, the Broncos blew a 27-10 second quarter lead and didn’t register a single point after halftime. Brock Osweiler put together one of his best games as a pro by throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns, while former Steeler wide receiverEmmanuel Sanders hauled in 181 yards and a score in the loss.

These teams hooked up last December in a Monday night contest at Paul Brown Stadium, as the Bengals escaped with a 37-28 triumph as 3 ½-point underdogs. Denver erased a 20-7 deficit by outscoring Cincinnati, 21-7 to grab a 28-27 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Mike Nugent put the Bengals in front with a field goal, followed by a Dre Kirkpatrick interception return of Peyton Manning for a touchdown and clinch the nine-point victory. The Bengals’ defense picked off Manning four times, while A.J. Green was held without a catch for Cincinnati.

Marvin Lewis’ squad has seen plenty of success on the road this season, posting a 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS mark away from Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati has faced only two teams on the highway that own winning records, losing at Arizona and beating Pittsburgh, while the Bengals are 3-0 SU/ATS against AFC West opponents this season.

The Broncos wrap up the regular season with consecutive home games as Denver hosts San Diego next week with the division title on the line. Denver hasn’t lost three consecutive contests since the end of the 2011 regular season with Tim Tebow at quarterback, while the Broncos have compiled a 10-2 record off a loss since September 2012.

VegasInsider.com handicapper Joe Nelson breaks down the effect of each team losing its starting quarterback, “After leading Denver to wins in his first three starts, the Broncos have lost back-to-back games despite building early leads as Osweiler and the Broncos have had consecutive terrible second half performances from the offense. Cincinnati won with McCarron starting last week, but the offense struggled with very limited production against San Francisco and this figures to be a much tougher test against one of the top ranked defenses in the league and this matchup likely comes down to which quarterback has a better performance.”

Nelson believes this matchup is a toss-up in spite of the Broncos being favored, “Denver has had the upper hand in this AFC series winning SU in 13 of the last 16 meetings going back to 1983, but the Broncos appear in worse shape for this matchup with key injuries with the loss of safety David Bruton added to the mix as well as the distractions surrounding Manning in the headlines this weekend. For his part, Osweiler has played well in stretches through some big games already while this will be a big leap in class for McCarron in his second ever start in the NFL with the Bengals in a second straight road game out west.”

Tonight marks the final Monday night game of the season as underdogs put together a 12-3-1 ATS record, while winning nine times outright. Road underdogs posted a 5-0-1 ATS and 5-1 SU mark in the last six opportunities, including Detroit’s 35-27 triumph at New Orleans last Monday. Denver is making its first appearance on Monday night football this season, while Cincinnati looks to atone for a 10-6 home defeat to Houston as 10-point favorites back in Week 10.

December 28, 2015 by : Posted in NFL No Comments

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