The Cincinnati Bengals take on the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. The Monday Night Football matchup is scheduled for kickoff at 8:30 PM. ET.
The Broncos face the Bengals in week 16 with a potential first round bye on the line. The Broncos have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling dramatically in the playoff standing thanks to a shaky offense and a surging Kansas City Chiefs squad. The Broncos are not the only team struggling with quarterback issues. A.J. McCarron will make his second consecutive start in this week. Unfortunately for McCarron, the Broncos defense is fierce and ranks as one of the top defenses in the league this year.
Against the 49ers, McCarron threw for 192 yards and a touchdown. It was a steady performance that most importantly saw zero turnovers. Going into week 16, McCarron will face a much tougher challenge in the Broncos secondary. Cornerback Aqib Talib leads a ball hawking secondary that’ll try and force McCarron into dangerous throws.
The Broncos two game losing streak has them on the verge of slipping dangerously far in the playoff standings. Despite losing to the Steelers, Osweiler threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns. His line interception was his only blemish. Osweiler has been an adequate substitution for Payton Manning, but Osweiler is not a long term solution at quarterback for Denver going into the playoffs. Osweiler has especially struggled in the second half of games when adjustments are made. Don’t expect the Bengals to wait to the second half to start dialing up blitzes. In limited action this season, Osweiler has struggled when facing pressure right up the middle.
A player to watch in this game for the Bengals is Marvin Jones. Last week, Jones had 89 yards receiving on four receptions. A.J. Green is clearly the Bengals number one offensive threat, but in the past Jones has proven he’s a big play threat, especially down in the red zone. Green is sure to draw a lot of attention on Sunday even with a backup quarterback throwing to him. With the defense focused on Green, Jones will have to step up and produce to fill the void. Expect Jones to contribute and have another solid performance.
A player to watch this week for the Broncos is Ronnie Hillman. This season, Hillman has been inconsistent when given the opportunity to take over lead back duties. In limited action, he’s shown flashes of quality production but lacks consistency. Just a few weeks ago, C.J. Anderson looked like the number one back on this team. But, Denver’s lack of faith in him was evident when last Sunday, Anderson carried the ball only four times for 14 yards. At times, Hillman has played with a burst of speed and vision that Anderson’s lacked. If the Broncos are to win this week, they’ll need Hillman or Anderson to continue to emerge. Hillmans burst of speed and vision makes him the best bet.
Denver Vs Cincinnati Betting Lines
This game is going to come down to a battle of backup quarterbacks with the winner most likely securing the number two seed in the AFC and a first round bye. For everything that Denver’s done well, there is serious concerns about their offensive cohesion. This game is certainly crucial for both clubs, but given the fact that this is a home game for Denver, the Broncos have the edge. The fact that both quarterbacks should struggle in this game means the under is a solid play.
Play: Broncos -3