The Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) are coming off of their fifth straight loss Monday night vs. the Steelers while the Indianapolis Colts (5-3) are coming off just their third loss all year at Philadelphia.
The NFL odds list Indianapolis at -7 at home, with the betting total set at 47.
While this spread may seem low at first glance, consider that the Indianapolis Colts are still badly beat up and Austin Collie is the latest addition to the injury list after suffering a severe concussion last week that was very difficult to watch.
With Collie now out and Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzalez already out for the season, does Peyton Manning have anyone else to throw to besides Reggie Wayne? Despite their struggles, the Cincinnati Bengals still have as good a pair of cornerbacks in the entre NFL, so if Cincinnati is effective in taking Wayne out of the game, someone else will need to step up.
As if that is not bad enough, running back Joseph Addai is out and Mike Hart is questionable. It is a testament to the greatness of Manning that the Colts have not fallen apart in recent weeks, and they even rallied late to makes things interesting at Philadelphia last week before losing 26-24.
Speaking of rallying late, it is incredible that the Pittsburgh Steelers have never lost a game in the long storied history of the franchise in which they led in the game by 20 points, and yet the Bengals almost brought that to an end last week, rallying from a 27-7 deficit and having the ball in Pittsburgh territory with a chance to win it late before turning the ball over on downs for a 27-21 defeat.
Cincinnati may be 2-6, but the five losses during this losing streak have all been by eight points or less, and two of them have been by a field goal. Then again, a couple of those games were not as close at the final score, as Carson Palmer has accumulated some nice numbers in garbage time to hide the fact that he no longer throws an accurate deep ball.
The Cincinnati defense has actually done fairly well vs. the pass, as they are allowing only 6.5 yards per pass attempt. The Bengals’ world class corners have compensated for the fact that Cincinnati has no pass rush. The Cincinnati run defense has been suspect though, allowing 120.7 rushing yards per game on 4.4 yards per carry. Then again, that probably will not come into play vs. the Colts.
This line is what it is because of all of the Colts’ injuries, but yet Indianapolis has still not failed to cover a spread since losing at Jacksonville back in Week 4. It seems that Manning always finds a way to win no matter what he has to work with, and that may be the case here, although laying a touchdown under these circumstances on the surface looks scary.
The most surprising trend in this game is that the Colts are only 2-5 ATS off of a loss if favored by -7 or more, a situation where you would intuitively think that Manning would be at his best. Then again, the Colts are also 6-2 ATS in their last eight games vs. a team with a losing record.