Cincinnati Bengals 2015: Preview, Predictions & NFL Odds

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Monday, 22 June 2015 11:44
2015 Cincinnati Bengals Odds & Predictions 2015 Cincinnati Bengals Odds & Predictions

Four straight playoff berths. Four straight first-round defeats. The Cincinnati Bengals are the first team in NFL history to lose in the opening round of the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. With 40 wins in the past four years and a roster that remains mostly intact, Cincinnati should find its way back to the AFC playoffs. Can the Bengals finally win a game in the postseason? Perhaps but a run to the championship game is unlikely according sportsbooks who have listed the Bengals as 33/1 longshots in NFL odds to win the Super Bowl, 16/1 underdogs to win the AFC Conference and +220 to win the AFC North.

Quarterback Andy Dalton returns for his fifth season as the Cincinnati Bengals starter. He had a solid season throwing for 3,398 yards, but his touchdown-to-interception ratio (17-15) needs some work. While the former TCU star has played well in the regular season, he has been outplayed in each of the four playoff games he has started. Cincinnati will again be strong on the ground. The league’s sixth-ranked rushing offense returns Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard. The pair combined for over 1,800 yards rushing in 2014.

The running game will help to open up one of the league’s underrated stars, wide receiver A.J. Green. Green had 69 receptions for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns last year. The Bengals did lost tight end Jermaine Gresham, but Mohammed Sanu (56 rec., 790 yds.) returns to help stretch defenses. Head coach Marvin Lewis needed to upgrade the defense and acquired former Green Bay linebacker A.J. Hawk and former Bengal DE Michael Johnson to shore up the front seven. Cincinnati finished an uncharacteristic 22nd in the NFL in total defense in 2014. If LB Vontaze Burfict can return from injury – he played in just five games last season – the Bengals defense should be good enough to earn a fifth straight playoff berth and possibly a 2015 AFC North title.

The addition of Hawk reunites him with Cincinnati kicker Mike Nugent. The two were high school teammates at Centreville HS in Ohio, then college teammates at Ohio State, where they won a national championship in 2002. Lewis hopes that the pair can help the Bengals get over the hump in the postseason. Cincinnati has most of the recipe for success this season despite NFL odds for regular season wins listing the team at just 8½ OVER (-125). A strong running game with Hill and Bernard and an able QB in Dalton. What they will need to add is a strong defense that can stop the run and create turnovers.

Bengals Update (9/11/15): Cincinnati are now +5000 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +2000 to win the AFC Conference and +200 to win the AFC North.

Last modified on Friday, 11 September 2015 13:24

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    The Chip Kelly experiment continues as new starting quarterback Sam Bradford takes over one of the NFL’s best offenses. Kelly, of course, is well known for his offensive innovations and has helped the Philadelphia Eagles to back-to-back 10-plus win seasons. The Eagles get a chance to continue and get back to the postseason when they open Monday Night Football with a trip to the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons. Bradford, who has missed the better part of the past two seasons with knee injuries, is finally healthy enough and is in command of the up-tempo Eagles offense. He is surrounded by a wealth of talent including last year’s NFL rushing leader RB DeMarco Murray. Jordan Matthews and rookie Nelson Agholor give Bradford youth but ample talent at the wide receiver positions. Eagles vs Falcons odds favor Philadelphia on the road by a field goal (-3) while NFL picks for week 1 on the over/under total are set at 55½.

    The former Rams QB, Bradford was the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year after starting all 16 games. He then played in roughly half of the team’s next 64 games suffering knee injuries in consecutive seasons. The Eagles opponent, Atlanta, welcomes new head coach Dan Quinn, former defensive coordinator in Seattle. Quinn’s first task will be improving a defense that finished dead last in the league in total yards allowed per game (398.3). Quinn and the Falcons selected undersized hybrid LB/DE Vic Beasley of Clemson in the first round and acquired Adrian Clayborn in the offseason to help. Along with LB Justin Durant, the defense should improve at least enough to take some of the pressure off of the offense. If Atlanta is going to have any chance of covering the spread as home underdogs in Eagles vs Falcons odds, the defense must be able to slow down the potent Philly offense.

    Quarterback Matt Ryan enjoyed his fourth straight 4,000-yard season last year, but he and the rest of the Falcons offense must work under new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan this season. There have been some struggles with the new zone-running based offense and problems with the offensive line have not helped. Atlanta has actually beaten Philadelphia the past two times that the two teams have met. Ryan threw for seven touchdowns in those two meetings. It is doubtful he will have that kind of success Monday night. Look for Philadelphia to have a lot of offensive success against a struggling Atlanta defense. The week 1 season opener (Monday, September 14th) between the Eagles and Falcons can be seen live on ESPN at 6:55pm EST from the Georgia Dome.

  • New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys Odds - NFL Predictions Week 1

    The New York Giants would love nothing more than to start the 2015 season with a win over their NFC East division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys will be looking to win back-to-back division titles for the first time in over a decade. No team in the division has repeated in 11 years. The Giants winners of two Super Bowls in the 2000s, have not tasted much success lately and last season was dreadful. After starting the season 3-2, the Giants running game and defense disappeared on the way to seven straight losses. The club did finish the season 3-1 but must address their running game and a defense that allowed 395.3 yards per game in 2014. Giants vs Cowboys odds in Vegas favor Dallas by nearly a touchdown (-6) while NFL predictions for the week 1 total have been set at 52.

    New York will be without the services of Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul who injured a hand over the summer in a fireworks accident. Pierre-Paul finally met with Giants representatives after missing all summer team activities and preseason training camp. His status is still uncertain. New York will also be without the services of star wide receiver Victor Cruz, who is still not fully recovered from a patellar tendon injury suffered last October. What the Giants do have is QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr., the NFL’s breakout star of 2014. In just 12 games, OBJ had 1,305 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. Manning, despite the Giants inability to run the ball, still enjoyed a decent 2014 season tossing 30 touchdowns compared to just 14 interceptions. Manning will need to control his turnovers in week 1 if New York is to cover the spread as underdogs in Giants vs Cowboys odds.

    Dallas, which has beaten New York four straight times, will rely on the arm of quarterback Tony Romo who led the NFL last year with a passer rating of 113.2. The ground game may suffer some as last year’s leading rusher, also the league’s leading ground gainer, DeMarco Murray is now in Philadelphia. Murray will be replaced by Darren McFadden, Christine Michael, Lance Dunbar, and Joseph Randle. Romo will still have WR Dez Bryant as his top receiving target. Bryant, who just signed a five-year, $70 million deal in the offseason, led the league in receiving touchdowns last year with 16. The Cowboys defense will be without DE Greg Hardy until late October and LB Rolando McLain will miss the season’s first four games due to suspension. Still, the Cowboys should have enough to win its fifth straight over the Giants.

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