Rookie first-overall pick quarterback Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals are looking for their first win of the season. Perhaps a trip to Ohio will help cure what ails them in Week 5. The winless Cardinals will visit the winless Cincinnati Bengals, who are coming off an embarrassing loss on Monday Night Football where they fell to 0-4. Which team is the better bet to get their first win of the season?
- Opening Line: Cincinnati -4
- Current Line: Cincinnati -3.5
- Over/Under: 47.5
- Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
- Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
- Last Meeting: Cardinals 34 vs. Bengals 31 (11/22/15)
The biggest issue facing Arizona this weekend might be the fact that they have to travel across the country for a 1 PM start in the Eastern Time Zone. The Cardinals have lost nine of their last 10 games played in the Eastern Time Zone. Their lone win over that span came in overtime. Simply put, Arizona has a hard time traveling across the country in recent years. When they had to do it against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, they settled for a 23-17 loss. Three weeks later at 0-3-1, the Cardinals will need a complete team effort in order to have a chance.
On offense, it feels like the Cardinals are regressing a little bit over the last few weeks, and now they’ll be without a key weapon in wideout Christian Kirk. As for the defense, they’ve struggled all year, allowing an average of 28.8 points per game so far this season.
On the other side of the football, there weren’t any positives at all for the Bengals to take from their embarrassing loss to the Steelers in prime time. Quarterback Andy Dalton was held to just 171 passing yards. Meanwhile, running back Joe Mixon managed only 62 rushing yards in the loss. Cincinnati will attempt to flush that game and move on with a chance to pick up a win in front of its home fans this weekend. However, the Bengals’ offense has averaged just 14.3 points per game this season while the defense has allowed an average of 27.5.
- Arizona has won 3 of last 4 between these teams
- Cardinals are 1-9 SU and ATS in last 10 games in Eastern Time Zone
- Cincinnati is 10-1-1 SU in last 12 October home games
- Under has hit in 3 of Bengals 4 games this season
Cincinnati’s minus-53 point differential is the second-worst in the NFL behind only the Miami Dolphins. However, you have to look at the caliber of opponent. They’ve faced three teams that are now 3-1 and three of their first four games were on the road.
The key to this game should be the Cardinals’ run defense. They were throttled last week by the Seattle Seahawks and Chris Carson. They’re giving up 142.3 rushing yards per game this season, which is 28th in the NFL. I expect the Bengals to be able to run the ball a little bit with Joe Mixon – something they’ve rarely been able to do this season – and that should change the course of this game. That should lead to less pressure on Dalton and allow him to make better decisions.
After getting blown out on the road by the Pittsburgh Steelers, I expect the Bengals to rebound here.
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