A combined 5-2 start through the first four weeks had many thinking at least one of these teams could make it to the postseason, but then reality set in. Cincinnati lost five of their next eight games to fall out of playoff contention.
The Bengals have been to the playoffs five straight years and aren’t giving up on making it six. They’ll test that resolve this week at Paul Brown Stadium, against the Eagles. Though Cincinnati fell to 3-7-1 last week in a 19-14 loss at Baltimore, a winning season is still possible.
And in this season’s AFC North Division, a winning season could be enough for a playoff berth. Even if the odds of Cincinnati making it to the playoffs are mere percentage points, all players need is hope.
The same is true of the Eagles, who are coming off a Monday night home loss to Green Bay and sit at 5-6. They are much further than Cincinnati from a shot at their division title, but they are closer than the Bengals to a possible Wild Card berth in the NFC.
Odds and Betting Trends
This game has shifted throughout the week with Philly opening as a 1-point favorite, according to Odds Shark. The line was even in the middle of the week, and it’s now Cincinnati favored by as many as 1.5 points heading into Sunday.
- Cincinnati is 1-6 against the spread in its last 7 games
- Cincinnati is 1-5-1 straight up in its last 7 games
- Cincinnati is 2-5-1 against the spread in its last 8 games at home
- Cincinnati is 2-3-1 straight up in its last 6 games at home
- Philadelphia is 1-4 against the spread in its last 5 games
- Philadelphia is 1-4 straight up in its last 5 games
- The total has gone under in 4 of Philadelphia's last 6 games
- Philadelphia is 0-5 against the spread in its last 5 games on the road
- Philadelphia is 0-5 straight up in its last 5 games on the road
- Cincinnati is 5-0 against the spread in its last 5 games when playing Philadelphia
- The total has gone over in 4 of Cincinnati's last 6 games when playing Philadelphia
The experts are pretty split on who wins this matchup.
- Over at CBS Sports, five of their eight experts went with the Bengals.
- At ESPN, six of their nine experts think the Bengals will win.
- At SB Nation, it's a similar spread with seven of their nine picks coming in for Cincinnati.
- At FOX Sports, their six-man crew had just one pick going towards the Bengals while the other five picked the Eagles.
- What If Sports projects a 21-17 Eagles win.
- NFL Picks Watch, which takes into account all of the expert pickers across the internet, has Baltimore getting 52-percent of the picks at the time this post was published.
The Bengals are viewed as the slightest of favorites in this game, but it really is a pick ‘em at this point. Neither team has been great by any means, but the Eagles have been slightly better. The home-field advantage evens out the slight edge Philly may have on Cincinnati, enough that this should be a close, hard-fought affair that comes down to the wire.