Cincinnati Bengals vs. Atlanta Falcons: NFL Preseason Week 2 Predictions
Quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones looked sharp in their preseason opener last week, as the Atlanta Falcons (0-1) now hope it translates to a victory in hosting the Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) on Thursday night inside the Georgia Dome.
Ryan managed to complete six passes to Jones for 109 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown, but it wasn’t enough in suffering a 31-17 setback to the Baltimore Ravens as one-point home favorites last Thursday.
Sports bettors may be willing to forgive the Falcons in this spot under fifth-year head coach Mike Smith, as they’ve covered their last three preseason games after suffering a straight-up loss as a favorite in exhibition play.
The Bengals have compiled a 24-26 against-the-spread record as a preseason underdog since the 1990 campaign, but failed to cover both such opportunities during quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green’s rookie season.
Don’t place too much emphasis on the results of those two contests, as last year’s NFL lockout placed Cincinnati’s youthful roster in a tough spot due to the number of practice reps it missed during that time.
I recommend taking a hard look at backing the Falcons in the first half, as they are known to start fast on both ends, while the Bengals may scale back their aggressive play from last week after watching three starters leave the field with injury against the Jets.
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