The Detroit Lions hope to keep their slim playoff hopes alive in Week 16 as they visit the Cincinnati Bengals. The game is scheduled for 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 24 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Fans in local markets can watch the game on Fox.
The Lions are listed as 4.5-point favorites on the road. That line is up after Detroit opened at -3. The over/under is set at 43 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 16 betting odds and links to more game previews.
Lions vs Bengals Vegas Game Odds & Betting Predictions
With back-to-back wins to get to 8-6 on the season, the Lions are still alive in the playoff hunt. Of course, Detroit is one of three 8-6 teams that are trying to catch the 9-5 Falcons for the last wild-card spot in the NFC. That means simply winning their final two games may not be enough; the Lions are going to need some help to reach the playoffs.
A trip to Cincinnati this week should work in Detroit’s favor. The Bengals have lost three games in a row, and in the past two weeks, they’ve been blown out a pair of NFC North teams. The Bears and Vikings outscored the Bengals by a combined 67-14 over the last two weeks. Head coach Marvin Lewis has already decided to move on from the Bengals after the season, so motivation could be a question for Cincinnati this week.
Free NFL Pick Against the Spread: Lions -4.5
This game is a heavy lean in Detroit’s favor. Under most circumstances, I hesitate to swallow points on the road in NFL games. But the Bengals have been absolutely dreadful the last couple of weeks, so much so that I’m surprised this line isn’t any larger. I expect the Lions to march into Cincinnati and win easily.
Surprisingly, the Lions are 5-2 on the road this season. They aren’t nearly that good at home this year. Three of those five wins have come by at least a touchdown, so they’ve proven that they can take care of business against poor teams. I was also impressed by how they handled what I thought would be a tricky game against the Bears last week.
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Meanwhile, the Bengals have been borderline pathetic the past two weeks. They managed just 161 total yards last week against the Vikings. Even against a quality opponent, they have to do better than that. Even more alarming than last week’s game was the prior week when the Bengals were out-gained by the Bears by nearly 250 yards. That game was home in Cincinnati, which shows just how terrible the Bengals have been lately.
Obviously, the Lions have plenty of flaws. However, the Bengals are not nearly good enough to exploit any of them. Cincinnati is the worst rushing team in the NFL, so they won’t take advantage of a Detroit defense that’s been up and down against the run this year. The Bengals are also banged up on defense, so they should struggle to slow down the Detroit offense, even if the Lions can’t generate much of a ground game of their own and become one-dimensional.
Barring a massive let down by the Lions, I don’t see how Cincinnati can stay competitive in this game. The Bengals have been dreadful the past two weeks, and there’s no reason to think they’ll be any better this week. If the Lions don’t win this game by a couple touchdowns, I’ll be shocked. They will cover the spread with ease.