AFC Game Of The Week
Bengals (11-3) at Broncos (10-4)
Bengals: With the Steelers losing yesterday in Baltimore, the Cincinnati Bengals are AFC North champions for the fourth time under Marvin Lewis. Earlier in the year, I always talked about how this was a much different team compared to what we’ve seen in previous years. They displayed a lot of mental toughness in every phase of the game. Andy Dalton has put together the best year of his young career. He’s improved in so many aspects of the game from making more than one read on the field. He has a variety of weapons to get the football too outside of A.J. Green and everyone has stepped up. On defense, a healthy Geno Atkins has been a positive because when he’s dominating the line of scrimmage, this defense does great things. This will be a true test for A.J. McCarron. He faced a terrible defense in San Francisco last week and tonight, he will get a challenge from the best defense in the league in Denver.
Broncos: I can’t pin these last two losses on Brock Osweiler. It’s not his fault that some people can’t catch the ball down the field and the offensive line is struggling to protect him. With the Chiefs playing the way they’ve been, the AFC West is still up for grabs and whoever thought that would be the scenario. The Broncos looked to be back once Brock was starting because they finally had a healthy quarterback. They couldn’t score at all against the Raiders and the Steelers outplayed them when it matter and their defense is human after all because Antonio Brown had a field on a very good secondary. This is nothing offensive to Brock, but I feel they have a better shot at making a run in the playoffs with Peyton under center then again, this could be like Tom Brady and he could surprise us all.
Prediction: Both teams had their starting quarterback under center week one. 15 weeks later, both back ups are in and there’s a lot to play for. The winner of this game will clinch a first-round bye in the AFC. I want to see the Broncos front seven against this Bengals offensive line. That will determine the outcome of this game. I like the Broncos at home in this one. Broncos 24 Bengals 17