The Cincinnati Bengals hit the road for a third straight week when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday. Cincinnati enters this one at 7-3-1, holding a slim lead over three 7-4 teams in the AFC North.
Though their records suggest a vast difference in talent, Cincinnati cannot afford to underestimate a 2-9 Tampa team that's still just two games out of first place in the NFC South. with the 4-7 Atlanta Falcons leading the division, the Bucs are still very much in contention to win the worst division in football this season.
Still, the Bengals will run away with this one if they simply bring the same effort and level of play they had in wins at New Orleans and Houston over the past two weeks. Those games have helped Cincinnati maintain the slimmest of leads any division leader holds right now. So long as they keep winning, they'll remain in first place. It's just that simple.
Though it's asking a lot for them to win out, with just five games left this season, not many teams are in a position in which they control their own destiny. If the Bengals can win three of their next five, they should earn a playoff berth. Win four of five, and they probably win the AFC North.
If they do the unthinkable and win all five, Cincinnati will likely earn a first-round bye, especially since winning out would involve beating the current No. 2 seeded Denver Broncos in Week 16.
How to Watch
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
When: 1 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, with a high near 78. East northeast wind 6 to 10 mph.
Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Rich Gannon (analyst), Scott Kaplan (sideline reporter)
Online Streaming: Verizon NFL Mobile
Cincy is a 3.5-point favorite, according to OddsShark.com, and the over/under is set at 44.5 points.
For more on the Bucs, be sure to check out Bucs Nation