2005 Season NFL Football Past Picks
November 20, 2005
This pick was released to clients on July 25, 2012 at 7:13PM ET.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati
Sunday 11/20 04:15 PM Eastern
5 units on Cincinnati +6 (-110) (risk 5 to return 9.55) RESULT: LOSS
Two years ago Cincinnati hosted a 9-0 team in a game in which the Bengals were posted as 6 point underdogs. Sound familiar? I absolutely loved the Bengals in that game against Kansas City, predicting that they'd cover and win the game. They did both. This game reminds me of that one in a lot of ways. In that 2003 matchup, Cincinnati saw a golden opportunity to show the league and the nation that they were no longer the league's doormat. In this one, they see a similar opportunity - it's just at another level. Obviously they are no longer a terrible team. But are they an elite team? This is their chance to deliver an emphatic YES! Cincinnati is for real this year and they want this game bad. Don't underestimate that single point. They will be up for this game like no other this season. Sure, Indy wants it too but not nearly as bad as they wanted that New England win the week before last. That was Indy's regular season Super Bowl. This is Cincinnati's. Emotion goes to Cincy. What about strength? Indianapolis is certainly taking their opponents by storm. They are winning by an average of 16.1 points per game. They are 9-0 and no opponent has gotten closer than 7 points. But, who have they played? They have the absolute worst strength-of-schedule in the league. That's right - they have played the easiest schedule of all 32 teams. They've gotten Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, San Francisco, St. Louis, New England and Houston twice! The ONLY team they've played with a winning record is Jacksonville, a game which they won at home by 7 points, scoring only 10 in that game. I am not saying the Colts aren't a great team. But I am saying they have yet to prove they can beat a very good team in convincing fashion. Laying six points on the road against one of the top teams in the league - a motivated opponent - is too much. The public just looks at Indy's perfect record, (misleading) stats, and the star-filled, high-octane roster and assumes they will post yet another blowout. But not us. We know better. We know that Cincy is equally strong and has been focused on this for weeks, intensely so for the last two. We know that Indianapolis can't keep up their "perfect" level of play forever. And, we know Indy has got to be feeling pretty content right now at 9-0 and coming off a MONSTER win against New England. Palmer, Johnson and Johnson can hold their own against Manning, Edge and Harrison. It should be chilly and may be a little rainy in Cincy in the late afternoon. Just what Peyton doesn't want. Five stars on the Bengals in this one as they cover the spread and very possibly win the game outright.