Bengals In Tough As They Return To Primetime Spotlight To Face Cardinals On SNF
The Cincinnati Bengals’ perfect season ended under the bright lights of Monday Night Football against an opponent nobody thought would be able to take them down in the Houston Texans. Now the Bengals will try to bounce back in another primetime game although this time they will be taking on a potential Super Bowl contender. Cincinnati will visit the Arizona Cardinals in a clash of teams competing for one of the top seeds in their respective conference on Sunday Night Football. Andy Dalton and the Bengals have struggled in primetime games over the years and it certainly won’t get any easier against an Arizona side that is playing its best football right now.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Arizona Cardinals
Sunday November 22, 2015 – 8:30 PM ET
NFL Betting Line: Arizona -5
The Cardinals improved to 7-2 and opened up a three-game lead atop the NFC West with a 39-32 win over the Seattle Seahawks last week on Sunday night. Carson Palmer threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns and as long as he can stay healthy the Arizona passing offense can be one of the best in the NFL. Larry Fitzgerald has looked rejuvenated this season while Michael Floyd has been excellent along with John Brown and even Jaron Brown of late. Veteran running back Chris Johnson has been just good enough to help keep opposing defenses honest and the Cardinals will need him at his best on Sunday night. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati offense hit a wall in its loss to Houston on Monday night. Dalton completed just 22-of-38 passes for 197 yards and an interception but didn’t have a touchdown pass. Dalton has played at a very high level for the most part this season but he has struggled throughout his career under the bright lights and that continued in the loss to the Texans. It won’t get any easier for the Bengals against a pretty good Cardinals’ defense that can get pressure on the quarterback and force turnovers. Cincinnati can help itself out by committing more touches to running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill but they also need their receivers to make more plays. Tight end Tyler Eifert was plagued by drops against the Texans while AJ Green also let a couple of balls get away. Five points might seem like a pretty big spread but when you consider how well Arizona has played, the Bengals’ struggles in primetime and the fact that Cincinnati has to travel across the country for this game the reality is it might not be high enough. The Cardinals will look to make a statement in front of their home fans and this will be an excellent opportunity to do it.
Pick: Arizona -5
Both offenses have the potential to put up big numbers but Dalton and company really struggled last week and could opt to play more of a possession game while emphasizing the run. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have been masterful at picking apart opposing defenses but they will be in tough against a very good Cincinnati defense that held the Texans to one touchdown last week. Look for this game to have some big plays but ultimately stay under the total.