Inside The Knox Score: Colts at Bengals

First and foremost, for you regular NFL fans out there not betting on games, waste zero time watching this game. It’s not going to be a highly rated game on any networks outside of Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Boise and Georgia.  However, from a handicapping standpoint, it is an intriguing game. The odds on this game opened at -7 in favor of the Bengals and hasn’t moved at all, while the over/under has bumped up a 1 1/2 points from 39 to 40.5. Doesn’t seem like a large move with the score we’ve seen this but in a game featuring the Colts offense without Manning versus the NFL’s stingiest defense.

Trends:

Trends are a tough topic with both of these teams. Each team have seen drastic personnel changes since last year so we will be looking at a short average. Due to that I am wasting little time with trends on this game and moving straight to the match-ups.

Colts Offense vs. Bengals Defense

On paper this matchup looks like a no-brainer. Painter is young and inexperienced. Addai is injured and the Bengals have the best run-defense in the NFL and left-tackle Anthony Castonzo is out for the Colts. Yes the LT on the blind side of Painter. Sounds like a nightmare doesn’t scenario for the Colts doesn’t it. Well, now let’s not rush to judgement. The Colts haven’t run the ball well for years, so nothing has changed there and believe it or not the Colts have shown some signs of life. Painter has had a couple of decent games the last two weeks and has seemed to found a comfort zone with Pierre Garcon. Over the last two weeks Painter has gone 28/57  for 558 yds and 4 TDS. All of these TDs to Garcon who has 7 catches for 271 YDS and again 4TDS. Peyton Manning is again on the sidelines calling plays and if Painter can avoid another second half relapse, he should have some success again this week even with the Bengals 3rd ranked pass defense. Points will be at a premium in this game so don’t expect anything outstanding.

Bengals Offense vs. Colts Defense

The Colts defense hasn’t stopped anybody this year, especially against the run. They rank 30th in the league in run defense giving up 145 yds/gm. That is downright awful and doesn’t seem to bode well for them facing Cedric Benson. The Bengals average just a bit over 107 yds/gm and the Colts defense is ripe for the taking here. In the air, Andy Dalton had orchestrated consecutive 4th quarter comebacks recently and A.J. Green should continue his growth and improvement process with him. With the edge-rushing schemes of the Colts and Dwight Freeney, expect to see Jermaine Gresham have some room over the middle and pick up 6-7 receptions this week. Neither of these teams will see a lot of points scored in my opinion. Will Benson crack 100 yds this week? I say yes and that is what opens up the passing game for Dalton as he becomes more comfortable in the pocket.

Fantasy & Game Predictions

From a  fantasy standpoint, not a lot of offense in this one. Garcon will get his 4-5 catches for 100 yards regardless of the Bengals stout defense. Why? Precision routes and great hands. Painter should throw for about 220 and a TD, but will throw 2 INTs. Reggie Wayne also contributes 5 catches but for little yardage in the 60 range. The Bengals should see Benson get to the coveted 100 yd marker this week and control the clock a bit. He will also have both TDs scored by the Bengals this week. Green may break a big catch but shouldn’t be expected to have multiple 40 yard receptions again this week. I’ll concede one for him and Gresham to snag 8 catches for 90 yds or so. For those of you needing to choose defenses in your fantasy leagues, this is a decent week to have the Bengals at home with an injury filled offense of the Colts. Think blind-side hits and often in the 2nd half.

The spread on this game is too high in my opinion. The Bengals are too young to be expecting to blow people out yet and the Colts despite their 0-5 record have been up by 14 points twice this season, only to lose the lead. They are one complete game effort away from a win, but this isn’t the week, not on the road. No comebacks needed for Dalton and the Bengals this week and a surprising 4-2 record out of the gate.

Pick: Bengals win a low-scoring game 20-16. Colts get the cover, and the total actually goes under 40.5

You can follow JB Knox on twitter @theknoxscore

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