Two playoff-contending teams will look to rebound this week when the New Orleans Saints host the Cincinnati Bengals. New Orleans is coming off a 27-24 overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
As for Cincinnati, they're coming off a far more embarrassing loss, which has been the case for them in recent prime time showings. They hosted the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football in Week 10 and played arguably their worst game of the year in a 24-3 loss.
Surprisingly, both teams still hold a spot in the NFL playoffs if the season ended today, despite their combined 9-8-1 record overall. Neither of these teams has impressed through the first 10 weeks of this season, but yet they both have a chance to make it to the postseason.
The Saints are averaging 304.78 yards per game through the air against 248.89 yards per game allowed by the Bengals' pass defense. Though the passing attack led by Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham gets all the pub, the rushing offense, led by Mark Ingram, ranks sixth while the Bengals are 31st in stopping the run to the tune of 143 yards per game.
So, what are the experts saying about this matchup?
The folks at OddsShark still like the Saints by an 8-point margin at home. The Bengals are 4-4-1 against the spread while New Orleans is 4-5. Against the over/under, which is set at 51 points, the Saints are 7-2 this season.
Here are the two key numbers ESPN's Mike Triplett and Coley Harvey say we need to know:
Bengals at Saints: Stats of the Week
The Saints have scored at least 20 points in an NFL-record 28 straight home games, according to ESPN Stats and Information (29 including the playoffs).
The average margin of victory for the Bengals in the 10 games they have won over NFC teams since 2011, when Andy Dalton became starting quarterback. They are 10-3-1 against the NFC in that stretch. The three losses were decided by a combined 12 points.
In a separate article, Harvey predicts the Saints to win, 27-19, but Andy Dalton and the Bengals rebound and put up a good fight on the road, noting how Dalton has lead Cincinnati to several impressive wins over NFC teams on the road.
As he tries to rebound from such a miserable prime-time performance, Dalton might want to cling to three other numbers: 10-3-1. That's his career record against the NFC, a mark that went up this year with a win over Atlanta and a tie with the Panthers. Of his 10 wins, some of the more impressive ones have come on the road. Dalton and the Bengals beat the Seahawks in Seattle by 22 his rookie year. The next season, in 2012, they beat Philadelphia by 21 on the road on a Thursday night. Count last year's win on a field goal at Detroit, too.
Yahoo Sports likes the Saints to come out on top, while the ESPN panel has a similar feeling by an 11-2 mark among its experts. CBS Sports comes in with an 8-0 landslide in favor of the Saints.
SB Nation's panel also favors the Saints with an 8-0 pick in New Orleans' favor.