12/16/2012 02:14 AM
Cincinnati -5 over Philadelphia:
While the Cincinnati Bengals try to move into playoff position, the Philadelphia Eagles will simply be looking to build on their first victory in more than two months.The Bengals will attempt to bounce back from what they hope does not prove to be a costly defeat when they visit the Eagles on Thursday night.
Cincinnati (7-6) was in line for a fifth straight win before allowing 10 points in the closing minutes of a 20-19 home loss to Dallas on Sunday. Dan Bailey's 40-yard field goal as time expired kept the Bengals from taking over the final AFC wild-card spot after Pittsburgh lost to San Diego. The Bengals and Steelers are tied, but Pittsburgh holds the tiebreaker by virtue of its 24-17 win at Cincinnati on Oct. 21. The two teams, who trail AFC North leader Baltimore by two games, meet in Pittsburgh next weekend.
Cincinnati had not allowed more than 13 points in its previous four games and held its fourth straight opponent to fewer than 300 yards, but it could not make stops late. Tony Romo engineered an eight-play drive that concluded with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 6:35 left. The Cowboys' winning field goal capped a 13-play, 50-yard drive. Cincinnati's Andy Dalton threw for 206 yards with a TD and an interception, getting sacked five times. Dalton has been picked off three times in the last two games after not throwing an INT in the previous three.
A.J. Green was held to three receptions for 44 yards and failed to score for a third consecutive game after finding the end zone in nine straight. He had two key drops, one of which could have gone for a touchdown in the third quarter. Philadelphia (4-9), which showed some life in rallying from an 11-point deficit to win 23-21 over Tampa Bay on Sunday, looks to win their second straight and to avoid double digit losses. The Eagles snapped an eight-game skid with their first victory since Sept. 30. Philadelphia has come from behind in all four wins, which have been decided by a combined six points.
Nick Foles went 32 of 51 for 381 yards to set team single-game rookie passing records for completions and yards. He ran for a TD and his two scoring passes came in the final four minutes.After converting a fourth-and-5, Foles tossed a 1-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin for the winner as time expired. Foles won't have veteran tight end Brent Celek to target Thursday due to a concussion, the same reason LeSean McCoy will miss a fourth straight game. The Eagles didn't rule out McCoy or Vick until early Thursday. Rookie Bryce Brown rushed 43 times for 347 yards and four TDs in the previous two games in place of McCoy, but was held to six yards on 12 carries Sunday.
Even though Cincinnati comes into this game on a losing streak, while Philadelphia won last week, there’s little question that the Bengals have been playing better football. Last week’s tough home loss to Dallas snapped the Bengals four-game winning streak. Even in defeat, however, the Bengals gave up just 20 points and over their last five games overall they have allowed just 12.2 points per contest. The Eagles on the other hand needed a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback against one of the league’s worst pass defenses to get their first win in more than two months. One week doesn’t completely reverse the direction these two teams appear to be headed. Even though Cincinnati is the road team and could be looking ahead to a crucial, potential playoff-deciding Week 16 showdown in Pittsburgh, I fully expect the Bengals to take care of business on the road and get back into the win column. For what it’s worth, the last time these two teams met nothing was decided, as they played to a 13-13 tie back on Nov. 16, 2008 in Cincinnati.
I'll have some more plays on Sunday.