NFL - Cincinnati @ San Francisco (8:15 PM ET NFL Network)

NFL - Cincinnati @ San Francisco (8:15 PM ET NFL Network)



It's unfortunate that Cincinnati is not in the playoff hunt


2007-12-14

It's unfortunate that Cincinnati is not in the playoff hunt, as the schedule sets up for a season ending run. After beating lowly St. Louis, the Bengals face an even worse San Francisco team. On top of that, they will face winless Miami in two weeks.

Still, at 5-8 SU & 4-8 ATS, HC Marvin Lewis' club is playing out the string now, a dangerous mindset for a road favorite. In this Saturday night affair, Cincy is laying more than a TD to a 49ers team that has lost 10 of 11 games outright and is 2-9 ATS in that span. At 1-5 SU & ATS, home field has been anything but advantageous for HC Mike Nolan's team as well. With a NFL worst 13.2 PPG average (9.3 at home) and 4.3 yards per pass attempt, note that Cincinnati is 15-4 ATS in its L19 vs. teams gaining <5.2 PYA.

The loathsome Cincinnati Bengals continue a season that now resembles a death march towards an end we may all benefit from reaching. This team is bloated with offensive firepower, averaging well over 20 points per game, yet losses continue to pile as a woefully-inadequate defense struggles to support an offensive attack that fails to push a viable rushing effort. Too much is being put on the arm of QB Carson Palmer, a detriment to overburdened field general.

Whether it is the demise of promise unfulfilled from QB Alex Smith, the failures of consistency of a RB (Frank Gore) that served as the catalyst for hope just a year ago, or the complete lack of production offered by a revamped WR corps expected to do so much more, the San Francisco offense is one of the least feared units in the game today. The defense, despite recent struggles to limit scoring, enjoys the commodities to succeed. It is the inability to score points of their own that keeps the 49ers in the basement.

Keys to the Game
Another lost season in Cincinnati has them trying to finish with urgency, taking a potent passing game to the Bay Area for their first Saturday night matchup this year. Carson Palmer still leads a top-five passing offense against the Niners' defense that is below the median point stopping throwing teams. Over the years the Bengals have pounced on teams that are being outscored by six or more points per game on the season in the second half of the season with 15-4 ATS record. It is noteworthy home dogs on Saturday's are 2-9 ATS the last four years.

Trends
~ Cincinnati is 4-10 ATS in the second of two or more non-division contests.
~ San Francisco is 4-6 ATS the last six seasons in the second of two or more home games.

StatFox Edge Bengals cover

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