CINCINNATI - AUGUST 20: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals is tackled by Ellis Hobbs #31 Akeem Jordan #56 and Stewart Bradley #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFL preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 20 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
National Football Post has discovered an interesting betting tactic focused on how a team's schedule plays out. The scenario is this: a divisional game means more than any other game on a team's schedule. A non-conference game means the least of any game on a team's schedule. And road games are inherently more of a challenge than home games. So, if a team plays a road non-conference game one week before a road divisional game, then that team faces an extra challenge--a trap game. Historically in the scenario, the road team has lost the non-conference game 75% of the time.
Therefore, if you're a betting man, then look right at the Week 15 Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles match-up. Looking past the popular notion that Cincinnati overachieved in 2011 and that the Philadelphia "dream team" underachieved, the Bengals face a peculiar challenge of playing on short rest one week before facing the much hated Pittsburgh Steelers. National Football post lays it out like this:
Despite a 2-4 record within the division last season, the Bengals were able to qualify for the postseason because they possessed a key tiebreaker over the Tennessee Titans. Marvin Lewis' crew may not be that fortunate in 2012, which is why a Week 16 road matchup at Pittsburgh could prove to be the difference between a January spent playing football and a January spent hacking up the golf course. Take note that this is a Thursday game (short rest) and that Philly will be jockeying for playoff position as well.
Is Week 15 a trap game? Will the Bengals look past the Eagles? Will this just be another tough test on the route to the perfect 16-0 season?
What do you think?