Ok, the curse ran for 31 years and is finally over, I have heard enough about it, and no, we can finally put that to bed. Now, we get to hear about how the Bengals have never won a home game! The Bengals enter this game as 3 point underdogs, but red-hot underdogs may actually be more questions surrounding the top-seeded Titans entering this playoff game. The Titans will be getting back star running back Derrick Henry, but he hasn’t played in over two months which could be a huge issue. You also have QB Ryan Tannehill, who can be hot or cold. Today, we will take a look at the matchups that will decide the game. If you want to bet on the NFL playoff games, make sure you go to betting.net, which gives you the best site to legally bet the games according to the state you live in!
The Titans offense is based around the ability to run the ball whether they have Derrick Henry or not. The run game sets up the play-action pass, and Ryan Tannehill is one of the best in the game at that. Cincinnati lost numerous defensive linemen during their seven-point win over the Raiders. Starting defensive tackle, Larry Ogunjobi suffered a foot injury and has been ruled out for the season. Backup tackle Mike Daniels suffered a groin injury that will likely cause him to miss the rest of the season. The good news is that star defensive end Trey Hendrickson was a full go at practice today(Thursday) and should be good for the game on Saturday. Josh Tupou also looks like he will be ready to go in this one. So the Bengals shouldn’t be as hampered as they could have been.
The Titans are a top 5 offensive line for running the ball; the story is much different when it comes to passing the ball where the Titans line is in the lower half of the league. If the Titans can’t dominate through the ground game, they will be in trouble quickly as Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard will get to Tannehill.
This matchup will be a big issue for the Titans as the Bengals should dominate through the air. The Titans will have to pressure Burrow to have any chance. That being said, the interior line for the Titans is excellent, but when it comes to rushing the passer from the edge, the Titans have struggled this season. The Bengals offensive line is much-maligned for a good reason, but last week they were supposed to be overrun by Max Crosby and the Raiders, and that never really happened. Expect the Titans to rush four and drop seven into coverage. The tempo that this game is played at will mean a lot. The Raiders had success because they did not blitz at all, putting seven and eight guys into coverage. Expect the Titans to do the same thing as they only blitzed on 18 per cent of the time this past season. This season, they have gotten 35 sacks on just four-person pressures; Joe Burrow’s QBR drops 34.6 when not blitzed.
The Titans have six wins by 2-3 points. 33-30 at Seattle, 34-31 Buffalo, 34-31 at Indy, 23-21 New Orleans, 20-17 San Francisco, 28-25 at Houston. The Titans also have four wins by 18 points or more. They have two losses by 23+ points. They have a loss to the Jets and the Jaguars. The key here is for the Titans to start hot on the ground; if the Titans fall ten or more points behind the Bengals, the game is probably over.
The Titans have to run the ball to win this game, and last year the Bengals beat the Titans and held Henry to just a little over 100 yards. The Titans defense is very similar in style to the Raiders, and Burrow showed how much he has matured since the start of the season by being patient and calm and taking what the defense gives him. This Bengals team defensively is better than given credit for, and the Titans offensive line is one of the worst in the league when it comes to pass protection. I think the line is right at -3.5 in favor of the Titans. I also think the Bengals have played much better as of late and will cover the spread. I also believe they will win the game. Bengals 27 Titans 23
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