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Bengals vs. Jaguars: Expert picks, analysis, odds and predictions

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The Bengals are heavy favorites at home as the Jaguars look to play spoiler in this Week 9 matchup.

Al Messerschmidt

The Cincinnati Bengals will look to maintain their slim lead in the AFC North with a win at home in Week 9, but the Jacksonville Jaguars will look to spoil those plans when they come to town. It's been a tale of two vastly-different franchises over the past four seasons.

Jacksonville has gone 12-44 during their past 56 games, while coming nowhere close to the playoffs. As for the Bengals, they've gone 34-20-1 over their past 55 games while clinching three playoff berths and one division title. The Jags have a long way to go if they hope to ever reverse those trends, but they can take a big step toward doing so if they can win in Cincinnati.

So, what are the experts saying about this matchup?

No one at SB NationCBS Sports or ESPN is predicting an upset by the Jags this week. They picked a combined 30 in favor of the Bengals in this matchup.

Cincinnati comes into this game favored by 11.5 points at home over Jacksonville, with an over/under of 43.5, according to Odds Shark.

John Oehser of Jaguars.com believes covering A.J. Green and pressuring Andy Dalton will be two of the biggest keys to a Jags win this week.

Cover A.J. Green. The Jaguars’ cornerbacks are Dwayne Gratz and Demetrius McCray now, with Alan Ball out for the season. That duo is young, talented and hungry. It’s also coming off a good game against Miami. It will need a better one Sunday.

Pressure Andy Dalton … make the pressure matter. There’s nothing fluky about the Jaguars’ 25 sacks. The pressure the front is generating is real. Now, the task is clear: turn the pressure into turnovers. Sack/fumbles. Interceptions. It’s difficult to see the Jaguars winning Sunday without them.

ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando delivers stats to help you make a pick for Jacksonville at Cincinnati.

ESPN's Coley Harvey and Michael DiRocco write how getting pressure on rookie QB Blake Bortles could be the key to a Bengals win.

Jags QB Blake Bortles has four pick-sixes this year to go along with his 12 overall interceptions.Many of his struggles have come against blitzes, and you have to think Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther wants to expose that.

Bortles has struggled against the blitz. Though he is completing nearly 60 percent of his throws against five or more rushers, he has thrown five interceptions, has thrown no touchdown passes and has been sacked nine times. His Total QBR is a paltry 2.8 against five or more rushers. This isn't confined to just Bortles, though, because nearly every rookie QB will struggle against pressure.

How to Watch

Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

When: 1 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Radio: Jaguars Radio NetworkBengals Radio Network

Online streaming: Verizon NFL MobileNFL Sunday Ticket

Further Reading

For more on the Jaguars, check out Big Cat Country.

Final Prediction

The Bengals finally got their mojo back with a comeback-win over Baltimore, and that momentum carries into this week, with a good performance against the lowly Jaguars. This game is close in the first half, as Jacksonville is able to move the ball with dual-threat runner Denard Robinson, gashing the Bengals for several big plays.

Andy Dalton and the passing game struggle against the Jags' stringy secondary, but rookie running back Jeremy Hill carries the offense with Giovani Bernard out as Cincy takes a 14-10 lead into halftime.

Coming out of the break, Cincy's D stiffens up and begins to force Blake Bortles to have to beat them, and he tosses a pair of second-half picks that Cincy converts into points.

Hill continues to grind out tough yards and keep the offense eating up the clock. A.J. Green finally gets behind the defense for a big play in his return from a toe injury.

Bengals win, 27-13