Luck, Colts Look To Extend Bengals Postseason Drought In AFC Wild Card Game On Sunday
The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t won a postseason game since 1991. If they are going to get the job done this time, they will need more than a little luck. The Bengals are set to visit the Indianapolis Colts in the first of two Wild Card games on Sunday and with more than two decades of playoff failure on their shoulders this year’s team has been forced to carry an almost unfair burden. However, Andy Dalton is 0-3 so far in the postseason and he is well aware that another loss could lead to major changes within the franchise as the critics continue to question whether he is the guy to lead Cincinnati on a playoff run.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts
Sunday January 4, 2015 – 1:05 PM ET
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
NFL Betting Line: Indianapolis -3.5
Luck led the Colts to the second biggest comeback in NFL playoff history a year ago in the AFC Wild Card round against the Kansas City Chiefs but there is no doubt he would like to make it easier on himself this year and avoid falling behind big early. Indianapolis limited the Bengals to 135 total yards in a 27-0 win earlier in the year and will look to put together another complete team effort this time around.
NFL Betting Preview: Cincinnati
Cincinnati conceded the AFC North title and the chance to host a playoff game with their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week but quickly turned their attention to this match up and how they are going to get their offense up to speed against an Indianapolis defense that completely shut them down during the regular season. The key will be getting a rushing attack going with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard on the ground after that tandem was held to just 32 yards on the ground in the initial meeting. The lack of a run game allowed the Colts to pin their ears back and attack Dalton who was sacked three times and that can’t happen again. AJ Green is dealing with a nagging injury and that will put even more pressure on Dalton and the Bengals run game to carry the load. The Cincinnati defense fought with inconsistency all season and it will be interesting to see if they can slow down Luck and the Indianapolis offense.
NFL Betting Preview: Indianapolis
Luck threw for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns this season including a big game against the Bengals in which he threw for 344 yards and two scores without an interception. Luck showed off his ability to improvise during last year’s comeback against the Chiefs but the Colts will try to keep things as simple as possible. Cincinnati was one defense that Trent Richardson actually had a fairly strong game against as he ran for 77 yards while Ahmad Bradshaw added another 52. As long as Indianapolis is able to maintain its versatility on offense they will be very tough to stop. The Colts defense actually ranked 12 th against the pass this season and if they can contain Hill and Bernard the way they did in the first meeting their defense will be able to get after Dalton and force him in to mistakes.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
Indianapolis is 7-2-1 against the spread in its last 10 home games and while it might not be talked about enough home advantage will provide a huge edge in this game. Luck is a better quarterback than Dalton at this point and now the latter is dealing with an injury to his superstar receiver. The Colts might not blow away Cincinnati the same way they did during the regular season but they should be able to cover the spread in a win and keep the Bengals searching for their first postseason win in more than 20 years.
NFL Betting Pick: Indianapolis -3.5