Baltimore Ravens (10-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
In spite of that big win in Pittsburgh last week, Andy Dalton and these Bengals still have a lack of success against playoff teams over the past two years. After going 0-8 against playoff teams last year, they’ve had very limited action against playoff teams this year. They have played 3 games against Pittsburgh and the Giants, but neither of those two teams is likely playoff bound.
These Ravens, who blew them out 44-13 week 1, are. The Broncos, who beat them earlier this year, are. The Bengals did beat the Redskins in Washington earlier this year in a game in which Washington left tackle Trent Williams got hurt and that’s the closest thing they have to a win over a playoff team (if Dallas qualifies over them, they won’t have a single one).
In those 12 games (8 last year and Baltimore, Denver, Washington, and Dallas this year), Dalton is a combined 256 of 448 (57.1%) for 3013 yards (6.7 YPA), 13 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. In the other 18 games, he’s 390 of 631 (61.8%) for 4234 yards (6.7 YPA), 33 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. Even against Pittsburgh (in both games against them), he didn’t play well.
Cincinnati is talented enough on both the offensive and defensive lines to beat teams like the Steelers and Giants despite Andy Dalton’s struggles against those types of teams, but I don’t think that will be enough here. Given that, I’m grabbing the points with the team for whom this game means more too (Cincinnati is locked into the 6th seed, while Baltimore has a chance to move up to #3).
Public lean: Baltimore (50% range)
Baltimore Ravens 24 Cincinnati Bengals 20 Upset Pick +120
Pick against spread: Baltimore +2.5 (-110) 2 units