The Cincinnati Bengals are poised to do something this team hasn’t done in over 30 years.
No one could have told you with a straight face that these Bengals would arrive so quickly. Even confident fans expected a Wild Card spot was the height of this team’s hopes.
However, these Bengals don’t know what they don’t know.
Almost every player on the Bengals roster was either a baby or a sparkle in their parents’ eyes the last time this team won a playoff game. Hell, head coach Zac Taylor was only eight years old. This team only has a handful of players who were even around to taste the last playoff defeat in 2015.
These Joe Burrow led Bengals have a very different feel to them going into the postseason than any other from the past few eras. They will be hosting the Las Vegas Raiders this Saturday. The oddsmakers and experts seem confident that this team won’t have to answer for mistakes of their predecessors much longer.
The Bengals are currently five-point favorites against the Raiders in Cincinnati, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The total is also set at 48.5 points. The line has dropped a bit since they started out the week as touchdown favorites over Las Vegas. That likely has more to do with people not expecting the Bengals to win by that large of a margin.
The final of their previous game was 32-13. However, after three quarters Cincinnati was only leading a 13-6 game. The Bengals added 19 points in the fourth quarter to pull away, so this game could be closer than many expect. Plus Las Vegas has been one of the hotter teams after winning their last four games and five of their last seven.
Still, the Bengals offense and especially quarterback Joe Burrow have caught fire recently. They have played some of their best football the last two times the starters were out there. Something has to give in this one, and it is hard to not count on Burrow.
- Cincinnati is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games.
- The total has gone under in eight of Cincinnati’s last 11 games against Las Vegas.
- The total has gone over in five of Cincinnati’s last six games at home.
- Cincinnati is 6-0 against the spread in their last six games when playing at home against Las Vegas.
- Cincinnati is 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games this season.
- Cincinnati is 5-2 straight up in their last seven games against an opponent in the AFC.
- The total has gone under in seven of Cincinnati’s last 10 games against an opponent in the AFC West.
- Cincinnati is 3-13 Straight up in their last 16 games played in January.
- The total has gone under in four of Las Vegas’ last six games.
- Las Vegas is 4-1 straight up in their last five games.
- Las Vegas is 10-4 straight up in their last 14 games on the road.
- Las Vegas is 5-2 straight up in their last seven games this season.
- The total has gone over in 12 of Las Vegas’ last 18 games against an opponent in the AFC.
- The total has gone under in five of Las Vegas’ last six games against an opponent in the AFC North.
- CBS Sports has all eight experts taking the Bengals
- Only one of ESPN’s experts are taking the Raiders
- Seven of The Athletic’s eight experts are going with Cincinnati
- NFL Pick Watch, which takes into account picks from across the web, has 85 percent predicting the Bengals get their first playoff win in over 30 years.
This game clearly means a lot for fans. People who have sat through the lost years, the Marvin Lewis era, Lewis’ reboot and even the past two years where the Bengals were one of the worst teams in football. There have been plenty of opportunities for this team to pick up a playoff win here or there, but it just never happened. In some cases it felt like that weight of the drought was too much on the shoulders of some of those teams.
This year feels quite different. It seems even some pessimistic fans are walking around with a quiet sense of confidence that they fear of speaking into existence. There are many unabashedly positive fans who are ready to tear down a wall to get to Saturday’s game quicker. We have been hearing from experts and national media that Cincinnati — yes the Bengals — not only could win a playoff game, but that they should win several.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum of confidence, make sure you enjoy the show the Bengals and Raiders will put on Saturday.