‘Close but no cigar’ seems to have become a running theme for the Detroit Lions this season. Last week, for the second time this season, they lost because their opponent made a field goal of 50+ yards as time expired. That has never happened to a team throughout an entire season, let alone the first five weeks of one.
But if the game comes down to the Cincinnati Bengals kicker making a field goal as time expires, luck may favor the Lions. Bengals kicker Evan McPherson has a chance to win the game against the Green Bay Packers with a kick in regulation and overtime—and missed both. Lions kicker Austin Seibert is 5-6 this season; his only miss was a 51-yard attempt against the San Francisco 49ers in Week One.
|Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions, Sunday, 10/17 @ 1:00 PM ET||Best Bengals Odds||Best Lions Odds|
|PointsBet||-3.0 (-131)||Spread||+3.5 (-105)||FanDuel|
|BetRivers||Over 47.5 (-109)||Total||Under 48.0 (-110)||DraftKings|
Bengals fans were hoping to see their team improve this season. With a 3-2 record five weeks in, it is safe to say—so far, so good. They have not beaten anyone overly impressive yet, but they have been competitive in every game and gave the Green Bay Packers a heck of a fight last week. However, they are not getting a ton of production from the offense (25th in total yards/game; 18th in scoring). But with how well their defense is playing (11th in total yards allowed/game; T-7th in points allowed), their offense does not need to do a ton.
It just needs to do enough.
But the offense could have some issues this week, depending on how the injury situation plays out. If Joe Burrow’s throat contusion is still painful on Sunday, the rest of the offense may have trouble hearing him at the line of scrimmage. Right guard Jackson Carman is on the COVID-19 list, and his replacement, D’Ante Smith, is dealing with a knee injury.
Joe Mixon’s ankle injury led to more work for Samaje Perine last week, who is now on the COVID-19 list. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bengals had three guys go on the IR. Against most opponents, the number of injuries would be a concern. But against the Lions—not so much. As long as Burrow can play and make the calls at the line of scrimmage, the Bengals should have more than enough firepower on offense to overcome the Lions defense.
Despite several injuries and an overall lack of talent on the roster, the Lions have made each game interesting. It may not happen until the fourth quarter– but better late than never, right? However, while they have launched some valiant comeback attempts, they have yet to finish a game off. If a game were to come down to them making a kick as time expired, the Lions would be in good shape with Austin Siebert.
The Bengals offense is lackluster on a good day. However, against the Lions defense, the Bengals may not need to be too dynamic. Detroit is allowing over 380 yards of offense a game so far and 27.6 points; much of that yardage has come via the passing game (251.6 yards/game). So, it may be a little hard to count on the Lions defense to win the day. But it is just as hard to depend on the offense.
Jared Goff is doing okay with what the Lions have given him to work with. But the offense always seems to get off to a slow start. Hence all the almost-comebacks in the fourth quarter. It does not help that the offensive line has underperformed this season (24th according to PFF heading into Week 6) or that center Frank Ragnow is lost for the year.
With all the injuries at wide receiver, Goff may have no choice but to feature his running backs and tight end in the passing game (which incidentally gives the Lions the best chance of winning).
Neither team has an incredible roster, but the Bengals roster is the better of the two—and healthier. The competitive level between these two teams is not significant. While a case could be made for the Lions recording their first win of the season, it is more likely they lose by three once again.
So, take the Bengals to win via the moneyline and the Lions to win via the spread. However, if the Bengals were to have an off day or if Burrow cannot go, then the Lions could steal a win outright. That slim but distinct possibility makes taking the under on the total the safest bet. Neither offense is great and will have a tough time just scoring 20 points– which means the Lions have a shot this week.
But that possibility does not make betting on them advisable.