2018 Cincinnati Bengals Road Schedule Odds with Expert Picks and Predictions
Whomever is the agent for Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, I'd like to hire him. That guy could probably sell beachfront property in Fargo. I have no other explanation for why Lewis remains employed by the team.
Of course, Lewis has that ridiculous 0-7 playoff record. Most believed that 2016 would be his final season if he didn't win a postseason game, but the Bengals' five-year playoff run ended with a 6-9-1 record. OK, for sure 2017 was going to be his last without a playoff victory!?
Nope, the Bengals went 7-9 and couldn't even lose right - they cost themselves a couple of spot in the 2018 draft by shockingly upsetting the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 17 on a last-second TD pass to knock the Ravens out of the playoff hunt and put Buffalo in. No one I know thought Lewis would return, though.
Yet soon after the season, the mega-conservative franchise gave Lewis a two-year extension through 2019. Baffling. Granted, Lewis has more division titles than any other Bengals head coach with four, but this team is moving backward. That 2019 contract year really doesn't mean much as teams don't like to have lame-duck coaches. So, I'd imagine this year will be it for Lewis unless the Bengals finish at minimum with a winning record (or he really does have incriminating photos of owner/team president Mike Brown).
For what it's worth, 5Dimes lists Lewis as the third-favorite at +1100 to be the first coach fired this year, behind Cleveland's Hue Jackson (+330) and Miami's Adam Gase (+760). I don't think he should be behind Gase.
Cincinnati will play the first four games without one of its best defensive players as linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended that long after his appeal to the NFL over a violation of its performance-enhancing drug policy was turned down. This will be the third consecutive season during which Burfict is suspended, but the other two were because he's a dirty player. Including injuries, Burfict hasn't played a full season since 2013.
The Bengals were 3-5 on the road last year, 5-3 against the spread and 4-4 "over/under." Cincinnati travels to four playoff teams from 2017: Carolina, Atlanta, Kansas City and Pittsburgh. The road schedule looks considerably tougher than at home. I project a 2-6 away mark. Odds listed for the home team.
Sept. 9 at Colts (-2.5, 46): Clearly, oddsmakers think Andrew Luck will be healthy enough to play here or I doubt Indy would be favored. So, would you like to know which exhibition game will be the most meaningless in 2018? That would be Colts-Bengals on Aug. 30. Think those game plans will be vanilla? This will mark the first time the Bengals will open the season with the opponent they played the week prior to close the preseason. Key trend: Bengals have lost seven straight at Colts (2-5 ATS).
Sept. 23 at Panthers (-6): Bengals on extra rest after hosting Baltimore on Thursday in Week 2. Carolina's only home losses last year were to excellent teams in the Saints and Eagles so hard to see Cincinnati winning this one. This all-time series is tied 2-2-1 and they did tie in the last meeting in 2014. Key trend: Bengals 3-5 ATS all-time at NFC South foes.
Sept. 30 at Falcons (-7): Second and last indoor game for Cincinnati. This year marks the third time in the last nine the Bengals opened with three of four away from home (2010, 2012). This is also the last game of Burfict's suspension. Cincinnati won the last meeting 24-10 at home in 2014. Key trend: Bengals 6-4 ATS in past 10 as a September road dog of at least 7 points.
Oct. 21 at Chiefs (-4.5): This might be the only game of the season where the Bengals face a rookie quarterback: Patrick Mahomes. Although both Cleveland games are a possibility. Cincinnati off hosting the Steelers in Week 6, and the Bengals always seem flat after facing Pittsburgh. Cincinnati has won four straight in this series, last in 2015. Key trend: Bengals 3-5 ATS in Kansas City.
Nov. 18 at Ravens (-6): Why do I think this is the last meeting between Lewis and John Harbaugh? I don't expect Harbaugh to be back in 2019, either. As noted above, the Bengals ripped the heart out of the host Ravens in Week 17 last year with that 31-27 stunner. Key trend: Bengals 4-5-1 ATS in past 10 as at least a 6-point road dog in series.
Dec. 9 at Chargers (-7.5): This is Cincinnati's only scheduled road game not at 1 p.m. ET - it's 4:05. Will Cincinnati fans travel and fill up half that L.A. soccer stadium? Likely not if their team is something like 4-8 as I expect. The Bengals haven't had to make a trip to anywhere on the West Coast since 2015. Key trend: Bengals 5-5 ATS in past 10 as a 7.5-point road dog anywhere.
Dec. 23 at Browns (-1): Wow, the Browns are favored! Tells you the state of the Bengals even though they have won seven straight in this series and all by double digits. It was 31-7 in Cleveland last year in Week 4 after Cincinnati had opened 0-3. Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes; in the first half, he was 17-for-18 for 215 yards and three scores. Key trend: Bengals 4-3 ATS in Cleveland as a dog (last in 2014).
Dec. 30 at Steelers (TBA): Per usual, no Week 17 lines. The last time Cincinnati closed the regular season in Pittsburgh was 2014 and the AFC North title was on the line; the Steelers prevailed 27-17 and A.J. Green suffered a concussion in the defeat that kept him out of the wild-card loss to the Colts. The Steelers have lost only two of 12 games at home in December since the 2013 season. Cincinnati lost there 29-14 in Week 7 last year. Key trend: Bengals 3-7 ATS in past 10 as a dog in Pittsburgh.
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