One of the great questions surrounding the Denver Broncos is about Peyton Manning. That much is easily understood. The five-time MVP is still nursing his foot injury, and he is taking his time is getting back into action. Rather, the Bronco coaching staff is monitoring his progress very carefully at the moment. But he missed practice a couple of days, with plans to work out on Saturday. Either way, barring an unforeseen circumstance, he will be inactive on Monday night as his team plays host to the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field in Denver, as action begins at 8:30 PM ET.
Brock Osweiler is the starter again for Denver on Monday, and for him, it was a tale of two halves, as he completed 14 of 18 with three touchdowns in the first half against Pittsburgh, but then dropped off in the second half, going a dismal 7 of 26, as the Steelers mounted a comeback to beat the Broncos 34-27. Of course, the Broncos had held Oakland to negative yardage the week before, and Osweiler could not produce a point in the second half of a 15-12 loss to the Raiders in NFL football picks.
Cincinnati is moving ahead with a second-string quarterback, out of necessity. AJ McCarron filled in for the injured Andy Dalton last week and made his first NFL start, going 15 of 21 in a win over the offensively-challenged San Francisco 49ers.
In the Monday night football betting odds posted on this game, the Broncos are favored by a field goal:
Denver Broncos -3 (-120)
Cincinnati Bengals +3 (+100)
Over 40.5 points -110
Under 40.5 points -110
The Bengals, of course, can use all the receivers they can get in support of McCarron. AJ Green has had back problems and may have problems against this very accomplished Denver secondary, which has allowed only 5.6 yards per pass attempt. One of the pleasant surprises in the Cincinnati receiving corps has been Tyler Eifert, who was named to Pro Bowl on the strength of his 564 yards and twelve touchdowns. But now Eifert, who missed last week’s game with a concussion, has still not passed through the league’s protocol.
This is a potential concern for the Bengals because it not all that likely that they will get a ground game uncorked. GTBets are well aware that the Broncos have slowed down almost all running backs, allowing just 3.2 yards per carry, and while Jeremy Hill, Cincy’s workhorse back, may have scored ten touchdowns, he has still averaged only 3.4 yards per attempt.
The Broncos’ offense seemed to be churning last week against the Steelers in the first 30 minutes, hitting on the first eight third down attempts. But it appears as if opponents are able to make adjustments against them with an awful lot of success, and much of that zeroes in on Osweiler’s inexperience and his limitations as a passer right now. Denver had 104 rushing yards last week, an improvement on the 34 the Broncos had against Oakland.
With New England coming into the weekend at 12-2, it is quite likely that the Bengals will clinch a first-round playoff bye with a win, relegating Denver to the third spot.