The Cincinnati Bengals come into this one as the lowest remaining seed in the AFC, and therefore, will face the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round. Let’s take a look at the Bengals vs. Titans matchup, the NFL odds, and make a pick and prediction.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans pick, prediction | Divisional Round
- Spread: Titans -3.5 (Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Moneyline: Titans -170, Bengals +150
- Over/Under: 47
Is Derrick Henry going to be back?
The Titans lost their most valuable asset in Derrick Henry during their Week 8 matchup against the Colts. Henry suffered a Jones fracture in his foot and was placed on IR as a result. The Titans won that game, putting them at 6-2 for the season, which they’d play the rest of without their best player.
Although Henry only played in the first eight games, he still finished with almost 1,000 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. He finished 12th in yards among running backs and sixth in rushing touchdowns — in half a season. Those statistics are quite frankly absurd.
Crucially, the Titans were able to secure the No. 1 seed, allowing Henry a whole extra week of recovery time. Head coach Mike Vrabel was fairly quiet about whether Henry will play or not this week. However, he did say Henry was back to handling contact in practice. If Henry plays this week against the Bengals, it shifts the balance of the game completely.
Of course, Tennessee is by no means a one-man-band. The problem they’ve had is keeping all of their talents on the field at the same time. Julio Jones and A.J. Brown have both faced injury complications of their own. Without both of them playing together, this Titans offense can become somewhat predictable and easy to shut down. Without Henry, Tennessee faced three playoff-bound teams, of which they only beat one.
Nevertheless, wins against both the Chiefs and Bills while Henry was still on the field showed what the Titans are capable of when they’re at full strength. But will they be at full strength against Cincinnati?
Bengals on a roll?
The Bengals go into this one on a high after winning their first playoff game since 1991. It had been 31 years for their fan base, and the team celebrated it on their home field.
Now facing the No. 1 seeded Titans in the Divisional Round, this matchup presents a challenge for Joe Burrow and the Bengals. It will be a real test for the Bengals to overcome on the road in order to reach the AFC Championship.
Yet, offensively, this matchup might suit the Bengals. Cincinnati ranks seventh in passing yards, while the Titans sit in the bottom eight for passing defense. Ja’Marr Chase broke the rookie receiving record, as well as the Bengals all-time single-season receiving record.
The Titans’ defense is going to have a hard time competing with that. Their secondary is one of the league’s weakest, and Burrow will look to expose them. Tennessee is going to have to pressure him effectively if they want to win this game.
Bengals vs. Titans betting trends
Tennessee has covered the under in four of their last five games. Of those four games, the Titans’ offense failed to score more than 20 points in three of them. Yet, they still won two of those. They shut out Jacksonville with a 20-0 win and held the 49ers to 17 points in a 20-17 win in Week 16.
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The Bengals are hot right now and have won their last five against the spread. The only outright loss came in Week 18 against the Browns, in which Cincinnati rested the majority of their starters. The key win there is the 34-31 statement win against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bengals have proven that they can compete with the best of them.
Bengals vs. Titans prediction
Everything inside me is telling me the Bengals go and win this. However, we don’t know what contribution, if any, we are going to see from Henry. Without him, I think the Titans are underdogs here. But if he plays, the pendulum will indeed swing.
For now, I’m going with the Bengals. I like the matchup for the offense, and I think the Bengals’ defense is more capable of containing Ryan Tannehill than the Titans are Burrow. Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon are a lot to handle, and I can see them scoring on Tennessee.
Bengals vs. Titans Prediction: Bengals 34, Titans 23