The Indianapolis Colts (11-5) played in a meaningless game against the Tennessee Titans in week 17. With a playoff spot already assured and potential seeding changes unlikely, the Colts went through the motions of the game before pulling Andrew Luck at halftime. The Colts have had an up and down year. Indianapolis has relied heavily on Andrew Luck to produce and he rewarded the team with 40 touchdown passes. With a high amount touchdown passes comes a high amount picks. Luck has thrown 16 on the season.
The Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) are coming into this game having lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Had the Bengals beaten the Steelers last Sunday night, they would have won the AFC North and hosted a playoff game. The playoff game would have been against their AFC North opponent Baltimore that Cincinnati has already beaten twice already this season. The Bengals have already faced the Colts this season back in week seven. In that game, the Colts shut out the Bengals 27-0.
Colts Vs Bengals Wild Card Week Odds
Here are the odds from Betonline.ag
Bengals +3 (+105)
Colts -3 (-125)
Colts: Andrew Luck has carried the Colts offensively all season. His 40 touchdowns are impressive, but the 16 interceptions tell the bigger story. When the Colts traded for Trent Richardson last season, it was with the belief that he would develop into the lead back. That has not happened. It is surprising that in a meaningless game, Richardson only ran the ball on six carries. The coaching staff has clearly lost all faith in Richardson going into the playoffs and his long-term future with the team is in doubt. The Colts have began to rely more on Daniel Herron, and while he has not carried the load entirely, he has demonstrated that he is capable of sharing the role. The lack of an established ground game will certainly hurt the Colts this week and potentially beyond.
Cincinnati: The Bengals looked like two different teams in week 16 and 17. Against the Broncos in week 16, the defense looked fast and furious. The defensive-backs were all over the receivers and it was a dominant performance. Against the Steelers in week 17, the Bengals defense again played with a dynamic element, however, the offense failed to support the defensive effort. The Bengals forced three turnovers on defense, but also committed three turnovers on offense. This week against the Colts, Cincinnati cannot afford to turn the ball over. Objective number one for Andy Dalton is ball security. If Andy Dalton can play near perfect football and avoid the big turnovers, than Cincinnati will pull off the upset.
Although the Colts are playing at home, the Bengals have the two biggest advantages in this game. Cincinnati’s secondary is full of “ball-hawks” expecting Andrew Luck to force a pass. Without a reliable ground game, the Colts offense has no balance. Andrew Luck has no choice but to throw into tight windows and sooner or later he will get exposed. The second advantage that the Bengals have is a balanced offense. Jeremy Hill will have the biggest impact on this game. If Hill rushes for more than 120 yards, then expect the Bengals to win. This is a close game and whichever team turns the ball over more will certainly lose. The Colts clearly have the better quarterback in Andrew Luck, but the Bengals have the better supporting cast around Dalton. The quarterback edge goes to the Colts, but the victory will go to the Bengals. Expect the Bengals to pull off the upset and advance.
Cincinnati Bengals 37 Indianapolis Colts 31