Bengals vs. Titans: Updated Odds, Stat Predictions for 2022 AFC Divisional GameJanuary 21, 2022
Bengals vs. Titans: Updated Odds, Stat Predictions for 2022 AFC Divisional Game
There aren't typically a ton of prove-it matchups during Divisional Round Weekend, but this might be the exception.
The Tennessee Titans are one of the most doubted No. 1 seeds in NFL history. The Cincinnati Bengals are in the postseason for the first time since 2015 and have a second-year signal-caller.
It wouldn't be accurate to say all eyes of the football world are on this matchup, since there are higher-profile collisions on the docket. However, this could be the most revealing contest in terms of revealing a team's true identity, not to mention the one that potentially silences the most skeptics.
Let's dive in to this tilt by breaking down the latest lines and assisting the fantasy crowd with a few stat predictions.
Spread: Titans minus-3.5
Super Bowl Odds: Titans (+800), Bengals (+1500)
Prediction: Derrick Henry Rushes for 125-Plus Yards
A couple things to note on this prediction before getting started.
First, Derrick Henry, who hasn't played since Week 8 following foot surgery, hasn't technically been cleared to play. Titans coach Mike Vrabel said the final call is coming Friday. But Tennessee receiver A.J. Brown spoke on the significance of Henry's return, so it seems the cat is already out of the bag.
Second, the Bengals have a great defense. Cincinnati allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game this season (102.5). The loss of defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (ankle) stings, but backup B.J. Hill is more than capable of holding things down on the interior.
Still, assuming Henry plays and looks anywhere full-strength, he's basically unstoppable.
He was ninth in total rushing (937 yards) and tied for sixth in rushing touchdowns (10) despite suiting up just eight times. He is a bell-cow back in every sense (219 carries), and some of his yardage totals are just silly. He had a five-game stretch with at least 113 yards in every contest, averaging 145 yards and scoring all 10 of his rushing touchdowns during that span.
Normally, a player who missed this much time might be eased back into the action, but the Titans are two wins away from the Super Bowl. They'll lean as heavy on their best player as they can, since it gives him a chance to make a huge impact, should keep Ryan Tannehill from being overexposed and it leaves the red-hot Joe Burrow and his Bengals offense on the sidelines.
Prediction: Joe Burrow Throws for 250 Yards, Three Scores
There are world-class dancers who never find the groove Burrow has been in the past few weeks.
Last Saturday, all he did was complete 70.6 percent of his passes, throw for 244 yards and two touchdowns (without an interception) and steer the Bengals to the franchise's first playoff win in 31 years. And given the temperature of his recent heater, that probably qualified as a down week.
Sounds impossible, right? Well, that is until you consider in his previous two contests, he went 67-of-85 (78.8 percent) for 971 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Those would theoretically be labeled video-game numbers, except virtual quarterbacks don't even play that well.
Burrow, the top overall pick in 2020, has been everything the Bengals had hoped and then some. The same goes for this year's No. 5 pick (and Burrow's college teammate), receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who debuted as an All-Pro second-teamer with 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Tack on complementary weapons like running back Joe Mixon, receivers Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins and tight end C.J. Uzomah, and this offense is loaded.
All arrows point toward another big game for Burrow, who has the machine-like precision needed to sizzle on the stat sheet even if his opportunities are limited by Henry and the Titans rushing attack.
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
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