Sunday night’s lone NFL preseason betting battle heads to Paul Brown Stadium, where the Cincinnati Bengals will engage in battle with the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos will be starting off their 2010 campaign with their trip to Cincinnati. It will be the much-anticipated debut of QB Tim Tebow, who will inevitably be used all over the field when the offense is out there. The reins to this team, at least at this point, still belong to QB Kyle Orton, though he’ll inevitably be looking over his shoulder at the former Florida Gator. Former Cleveland Browns QB Brady Quinn isn’t going to want to be left out in the cold either, as the former first round draft pick has to feel like he is good enough to make it as a starter on this team as well. The big problem for whomever is playing quarterback is going to be the play of the wide receivers. With WR Brandon Marshall and TE Tony Scheffler now playing for other teams, there aren’t a ton of receiving options. Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd, and rookie Demaryius Thomas are all potential fill-ins at wide out, while Daniel Graham seems to be the only great option at tight end. The rushing attack should be one to look out for as well, as RBs Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno are vying for starting time. Defensively, there could be plenty of holes, as LB DJ Williams, S Brian Dawkins, DB Champ Bailey, and DT Jamal Williams can’t do it all by themselves.
The Bengals have already seen some NFL preseason betting action. A 16-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game was a disturbing display for the offense. Starting QB Carson Palmer only completed two of his five tosses for just 18 yards, which only adds to his misery of a horrifying end to the 2009 NFL betting campaign. His backup, JT O’Sullivan didn’t look much sharper, going just 4-of-11 for 33 yards with an INT. Jordan Palmer at least led the team on a touchdown drive, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he threw two picks and went just 10-of-20 passing. The “hero,” if there was one, offensively for the Bengals was WR Matt Jones, who is just trying to make a roster after essentially being booted out of Jacksonville. He led the team with three catches and 42 yards, including the longest play of the game, a 28 yard pass from the younger Palmer brother. WR Jordan Shipley electrified with a 63 yard punt return. Defensively, Cincinnati came up with five sacks, two of which belonged to LB Michael Johnson, who is challenging for some playing time at a position that is already filled by Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers.
Cincinnati is certainly going to want the awful taste of last Sunday’s defeat out of its mouth with at least a remotely respectable effort. The defense played well last week, so it’s time for the offense to step up. Can Quinn and Tebow really lead the Denver offense? We tend to think not, especially this early in the season. This is a hefty NFL spread to be laying this early in the preseason, but we have no reservations that the Bengals can win this game by at least a TD.