Ryan, Falcons Look To Spoil Bengals’ Home Opener On Sunday
The Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals are two teams coming off big wins over division rivals in week one. Now only one of those teams will be able to move to 2-0 when they clash this Sunday. Matt Ryan and the Falcons will try to put back-to-back wins together for the first time since the 2012 season but it won’t be easy as a five-point underdog at Cincinnati where Andy Dalton and the Bengals will look to pick up from where they left off a year ago and build on an impressive nine-game home win streak.
Atlanta Falcons @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday September 14, 2014 – 1:00 PM ET
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
NFL Betting Odds: Cincinnati -5
The match up to look out for is Ryan and the Atlanta offense going up against the Cincinnati defense in a battle of strengths. Ryan was named NFC offensive player of the week after threw for a franchise-record 448 passing yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over the New Orleans Saints and this could be an even tougher test.
NFL Betting Preview: Atlanta Falcons
The addition of Devin Hester in the slot with Harry Douglas helped open things up even more for a Falcons’ offense that also welcomed back a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White. Hester had five catches for 99 yards and Atlanta was able to spread the Saints’ defense out and then hit them with inside runs for big gains. The offensive line was excellent for the most part as well but rookie first-round pick Jake Matthews left the game with an injury and hasn’t practiced. Ryan will likely have to deal with even more pressure in this game so getting the ball out quickly will be key. The Falcons’ defense gave up 472 total yards to the Saints but they made some key plays on turnovers that helped them get the win including a forced fumble in overtime that set up the winning field goal. Turnovers will once again be key as well as the ability of the front seven to hold the line against the run.
NFL Betting Preview: Cincinnati Bengals
There was a lot of talk about the Bengals switching to a more run-oriented offense under new coordinator Hue Jackson and we should see more of the ground game this week after they managed just 79 rushing yards in their win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Atlanta defense gave up 123 rushing yards to New Orleans last week and with holes in their front seven there will be room for Cincinnati to pound the rock inside with Giovani Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill. That will open up room for Andy Dalton who is coming off an strong performance after throwing for 301 yards and a touchdown while completing nearly 66-percent of his passes against Baltimore. The Bengals’ defense will have to win the battles along the line in order to get pressure on Ryan and keep him from having time to burn them on the deep ball.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
Atlanta did a lot of things right in its opener and as long as the defense continues to force turnovers that will be the equalizer that makes up for any weaknesses on that side of the football. The Bengals have the weapons on both sides of the ball to pull out the win but there are still questions about Daltons’ ability to avoid turnovers. With Ryan and the Falcons’ offense playing at such a high level it makes sense to take the points and expect a close game that is determined late.
NFL Betting Pick: Atlanta Falcons +5