In the final Thursday Night Football matchup of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles will host the Cincinnati Bengals. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 EST at Lincoln Financial Field and will be televised nationally on the NFL Network. Oddsmakers currently have Cincinnati listed as a 3-point road favorite with the total posted at 46 points.
Why Cincinnati Will Cover:
The Bengals dropped to 7-6 overall after a heartbreaking 19-20 home loss to the Cowboys this past weekend. Cincinnati is tied with the Steelers for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC, but Pittsburgh holds the tiebreaker due to a 24-17 win at Cincinnati back in Week 7. The Bengals still control their own fate, as they go on the road to face the Steelers and host the Ravens after their showdown against the Eagles.
There’s no question that Cincinnati is the team with the most at stake in this matchup. While the Eagles are coming off an impressive 23-21 win at Tampa Bay, that actually might be a good thing for the Bengals. Philadelphia had lost eight straight before beating Tampa Bay and were really playing hard to put an end to that losing streak. This could be a huge letdown spot for the Eagles, who gain nothing by beating Cincinnati and are likely more interested in playing spoiler against division rivals Washington and New York over the final two weeks of the season.
The Eagles defense played one of their better games of the entire season last week against the Buccaneers, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them struggle against Cincinnati. Philadelphia had allowed 28 points or more in each of their previous six games. The Eagles pass defense played well against the Buccaneers, but overall it hasn’t been good this season. Cincinnati is 19-7 ATS vs poor pass defenses that allow 7 or more yards/attempt in the second half of the season since 1992.
Why Philadelphia Will Cover:
The Eagles didn’t look like a team that was out of the playoff picture this past weekend. They played extremely hard on both sides of the football. There’s a possibility this team will let down after finally getting a win to snap their losing streak, but teams typically come to play in prime time games. Philadelphia hasn’t had much luck in prime time games of late, losing on Monday Night Football to the Saints in Week 10 and the Panthers in Week 12.
The thing you always have to factor in with these Thursday night matchups is the advantage the home team has in the short week. It’s no secret that the Eagles have had to deal with a number of big injuries this year, but the Bengals aren’t exactly coming in at full strength. Six different players for Cincinnati are currently listed as questionable against the Eagles, including corners Dre Kirkpatrick and Leon Hall and starting linebacker Rey Maualuga.
It might not seem like the Eagles have a whole lot to play for down the stretch, but there is reason to believe they will show up. With it looking like there is a very good chance that head coach Andy Reid and GM Howie Roseman won’t be back next season, a lot of the players are auditioning to keep their job next season. I also believe the players have a lot of respect for Reid and will play hard knowing that these are likely his final games as a coach of the Eagles.
The Eagles are 12-4 ATS over their last 16 games when playing against a marginal winning team in the second half of the season. It’s also worth mentioning that the Bengals are just 2-10 ATS over their last 12 games following a loss by 3-points or less.