In order to get a better grasp on this AFC war, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Experts NFL bloggers Kaptain Kirk of Denver blog Bronco Planet and Mickey Mentzer of Cincinnati blog Cincy Jungle strap on the helmets and butt heads over which team will not only win Monday night, but cover the spread.
WHY THE BRONCOS COVER
Kaptain Kirk writes for Bronco Planet. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @broncoplanet.
Manning is a perfect 8-0 vs. the Bengals for his career and 13-4 on Monday Night. The NFL’s most cerebral Quarterback has multiple weapons and with 528 career Touchdown passes, he definitely knows how to use them. WR’s Demaryius Thomas: 1,389 yds,11 TDs and Emmanuel Sanders: 1,261 yds, 7 TDs along with TE Julius Thomas: 456 yds, 12 TD’s. Plus the Broncos have found their running game at the right time. C.J. Anderson has averaged 135.3 scrimmage yards per game (812 total) with 6 total TDs (4 rush, 2 rec.) in the last 6 games.
Defense Wins Championships
The Denver “D” ranks fourth in total defense (309.4 ypg) and No. 2 against the run, allowing just 71.6 yards per game. They have forced three-and-outs on 51-of-168 opponent drives this season to lead the NFL with at 30.4 percent. With Terrance Knighton forcing teams to deal with DeMarcus Ware (10 Sks, 15 TFLs) and Von Miller (13 SKs, 44 QB Hurries) on the outside. plus CB’s Chris Harris (15 PBU’s, 3 INTs) and Aqib Talib (14 PBU’s, 3 INTs) limiting the effectiveness of opposing aerial attacks on the back end, you can see why they’ve been successful.
The Broncos have won the last four meetings against Cincinnati. They outrank the Bengals (3rd to 11th according to the AP). Football Outsiders have the Broncos ranked 2nd and the Bengals at 19th overall in their Week 15 DVOA ratings. Denver is averaging a Touchdown more than Cincinnati in scoring
WHY THE BENGALS WILL COVER
Mickey Mentzer (@WhoDeyFans) writes for Cincy Jungle. You can follow them on Facebook and on Twitter @CincyJungle.
The Motivation Factor
The Bengals can clinch a playoff spot with a win Monday night against the visiting Denver Broncos. On paper these teams look to be a pretty good matchup. The Bengals are excited to see the recent struggles of Peyton Manning due to illness and injury. On offense the Bengals are going to look to continue the trend of feeding their rookie of the year candidate running back Jeremy Hill. If he can find production and extend drives like the Bengals did last week against Cleveland, the Broncos offense may be spending a lot of time on the bench.
On the defensive side of the ball the Bengals are going to try and establish pressure with their front 4. This allows them to drop linebackers into coverage and still pressure the quarterback. If they are successful in doing this the Broncos are going to have to rely on their running game.
Reverse the Curse
Although it is a good attack plan for Denver, they are facing a Bengals team that has been good at stopping the run. This game will come down to whether or not the Bengals can get past their “prime time” curse. If so, I look for them to not only cover the spread, but to get the upset as well.
Join the debate. Who covers Monday night: Broncos or Bengals?