Cincinnati Bengals Victorious over Arizona Cardinals
Written by Greg Smith – 2011-12 NFL Prediction Record (15-8)
This Sunday features a super matchup as the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals fight it out to determine which team can continue to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Both teams have had their share of positive and negative moments as the season draws to a close. After we go through all of the available data I’m confident that we can find the best side for profitable NFL bettors this weekend.
There is definitely a case to be made for the Arizona Cardinals in this game as they make a late (very late) drive to make the playoffs. Recent wins over the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys have given the Cardinals some respectability. Their power ranking position has improved to 19th this week from 21st last week and they’re finally a team that can boast of a .500 ranking with their overall record at 7-7. So that’s the good side of life for the Cardinals, here is the harsher reality in my opinion. To start, their “better” QB Kevin Kolb is listed as questionable to play this weekend with a concussion which puts backup QB John Skelton in line to start. To put it bluntly, as I look over both Cardinal QB’s numbers I really don’t care who starts this Sunday. Kevin Kolb is listed with 9 TD’s, 8 INT’s, a 57.7 passing completion rate and an 81.1 overall QBR. Compare that with backup Cardinals QB John Skelton with 8TD’s, 10 INT’s for a 55.5 passing completion rate and a 69.8 overall QBR. The Cardinals as a team are 2-5 as the visiting squad and have an offence that is marginal at best (although it ranks reasonably closely to the Bengals). The Cardinals offence currently stands at 22nd in overall yards gained per game, 19th in passing yards gained, 24th in rushing yards gained and 25th overall in points scored per game. The central problem for the Cardinals this Sunday will be their defense. Currently the Cardinals defense ranks 20th in total yards allowed per game, 22nd in total passing yards allowed per game, 18th in rushing yards allowed per game and 17th in total points allowed per game. The numbers are fairly mediocre but when I combine them with the Cardinals QB’s that have a propensity for putting up INT’s it spells a team that turns the ball over and puts the win in jeopardy.
On the other side of the field, the Cincinnati Bengals are still alive and playing reasonably well with a recent win over the St Louis Rams. As I mentioned in my article last week the Bengals have had a tough schedule and losses to the Texans and Steelers are nothing to hand a team’s proverbial head about. The Bengals offense still looks reasonable as they are ranked 23rd in total yards gained per game, 20th in passing yards gained per game, 19th in rushing yards gained per game and 18th in total points gained per game. In the offense department the biggest difference to me would be that the Bengals are ranked 18th in total points scored per game while the Cardinals are ranked 25th. As well, I like the Bengals QB Andy Dalton with 18TD’s, 13 INT’s for a 59% passing completions rate and an overall QBR of 81. The Bengals have an overall record of 8-6 (with 3-3 at home) which tells me they know how to win. Overall the Bengals really shine on defense as they currently rank 6th in total yards allowed per game, 11th in passing yards allowed per game, 9th in rushing yards allowed per game and 10th in total points allowed per game. The Bengals are better defensively across the board but the key numbers that stand out to me are that the Bengals are seven ranking positions better than the Cardinals in points allowed. As well, the Bengals are seven ranking positions better than the Cardinals in points gained offensively per game. When I combine those numbers with the difference in the QB’s managing the game I have confidence in the Bengals as a team coming out as the victor at home this Sunday.
Prediction: Take the Cincinnati Bengals at -4 against the Arizona Cardinals (5Dimes.com)
Check out Greg’s past predictions in our NFL betting predictions blog section.