Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Night matchup should be a wild one

Cincinnati (8-5) @ Indy (11-2)

I am looking forward to the game tonight if for no other reason than these two teams played one of the most entertaining games ever last season.

The Mannings prevailed 45-37 in a shootout in the Queen City as Peyton Manning threw for 365 yards and 3 TDs and the two teams compiled 943 total yards of offense.

Carson Palmer also threw for over 330 yards and three receivers went over 100 yards (Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison) in an aerial attack that hearkened back to the old Air Coryell days.

This game should feature more of the same. Although Manning & his offense isn't as explosive as they have been in the past and the team has lost 3 of the past 4 games, they still manage to score 26 PPG, good for 4th in the league.

Cincy has been revitalized the past month, ripping off 4 straight wins behind the energetic Johnson (765 receiving yards in the last 5 games), and it is the 7th highest scoring team in the league at 24 PPG.

Defense is neither teams' forte either. Indy was gashed for 375 yards on the ground in Jacksonville last week and allows more yards rushing per game (176) than any other team.
Cincy is 29th in the NFL in yards allowed per game (347) but only 11th in points allowed, shoring up that area since the 49-41 debacle against the Chargers.

So what does that all mean for tonight? Palmer & Manning should both go over 300 yards again. CJ, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Wayne & Harrison should all go over 100 yards receiving, and Bengals RB Rudi Johnson should rush for about 130 yards and 2 scores. The Colts will only run for 66 yards but Manning and his acrobatic receivers should still prevail in what has become a must-win game for the suddenly struggling Mannings.

MY PICK: Indy 37, Bengals 35

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