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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Denver Broncos Point Spread - Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (3-6 SU, 2-6-1 ATS)
Week 11 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CIN +2.5/DEN -2.5
Over/Under Total: 40

The Cincinnati Bengals come to Mile High for a week 11 matchup with the Denver Broncos. A pair of formerly perennial playoff contenders until last season, these two teams have fallen on hard times. The Bengals fell to the Titans on Sunday, 24-20, for their second straight loss and now face their third straight road game in a tough place to play. The team they're playing hasn't been that tough lately, with the Broncos losing at home on Sunday night, 41-16, to the Patriots. It was their fifth loss in a row and after a 3-1 start, this season has gotten away from Denver.

Cincy started off the season horribly, got on a little roll and offered a glimmer of hope that they could orchestrate a big comeback. But three losses in four games, with their only win a one-point home edging of the Colts, they have fallen back and it now looks like 2017 is a lost cause. It's just not easy to see this group getting on a huge roll at this point. Their defense has areas of strength and has held firm for much of the season. The offense, however, is dysfunctional for the most part with almost nothing clicking. The range for the offense is somewhere between horrible and okay. The moments they have shined this season have been minimal.

Granted, Andy Dalton and Company can only do so much with this Bengals' offense with a line that is battered by injuries and offseason departures. Still, Dalton has not been on-the-mark this season. He was decent on Sunday, with 265 yards, two TD throws, and no picks. Both AJ Green and Brandon LaFell were effective with TD passes. But when it was time to make something happen, this side of the ball didn't respond, converting one lousy third down the whole game. The play-calling will also leave those who bet on the Bengals very annoyed at times. RB Joe Mixon had some useful runs, including a TD on Sunday, but this part of the team was expected to be a big part of the offensive winning formula and it just hasn't taken hold this season. All told, this offense averages just over 16 points a game.

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The Cincinnati defense is actually pretty good and would be a lot better if given more consistent support by the other side of the ball. But they're nowhere near good enough to make up for a flat offense. The front is good and can control games in spots, with Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, and Andrew Billings. But as far as being stout against the run, that hasn't really happened this season. In the back-seven, some key guys are iffy, with Pacman Jones possibly concussed, with Vontaze Burfict looking at another possible suspension. But with Jones, Dre Kilpatrick, George Iloka, and others, the secondary hasn't been too bad. Carl Lawson has been making plays and getting after quarterbacks. But with a minus-nine in turnover ratio this season, the defense could be better at getting turnovers, with just six through nine games.

The Broncos faced a surging and rested Patriots team on Sunday night, which wasn't a great spot for a team looking for a positive development. At any rate, the Broncos find themselves officially in their worst predicament since the 2010 season, when they bottomed-out before rising again. Last season, they hung in there with a chance to go to the playoffs until the end of the season, but their playoff hopes are all but dashed after just 9 games. They don't seem to have a huge winning streak in them at this point. The offense and defense are both adrift and we'll see what they can patch together moving forward.

For the last two games, the Broncos have been going with Brock Osweiler at quarterback and the results have been less than sterling. He just doesn't seem like the same guy who had a good run in relief for Manning a few years ago. They could go back to Siemian or give Paxton Lynch a look at some point when he is recovered from a shoulder injury that has kept him out of action. The offense wasn't very good on Sunday, though CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles had some good runs, with Emmanuel Sanders big with 137 yards receiving and Demaryius Thomas catching a TD pass. Better quarterback play this season could have gone a long way, but they haven't been able to get it. And it's not all their fault, as injuries and inconsistent play along the offensive line has been a big part of the Denver offense sinking to these depths.

The Denver defense was able to sometimes camouflage the inadequacies on the other side of the ball over the past few seasons, but this season has seen a once-stout defense become easily-exploitable. The point totals allowed keeps going up and in the last two games, they've yielded an alarming total of 92 points. Giving up a good game to Tom Brady is no disgrace. And 7 of the Pats' points came on a kickoff return for a touchdown. In fact, a lot of the Pats' points on the day were set up by Denver special teams gaffes. Still, the run-defense hasn't been that great and what was a great secondary even earlier in the season has eroded, as well. They have been awful in clutch situations this season, with teams doing well on third downs and late in games. It's just as if the entire formula for success on this side of the ball went sailing out the window at some point this season. And while there are reasons, like injuries and a lack of support on the other side of the ball, among other things, it's still strange how they've been so ineffective in recent weeks.

If Denver is looking for relief, why not against another 3-6 team that has to take to the road for the third week in a row? Granted, after five straight losses, it could be hard for the Broncos to get fired-up. And if they continue sabotaging themselves with slapstick special teams, it's going to be even harder for them to regroup. They were contenders not long ago and the reason to soldier on with 100% motivation is unclear at this point. The same can be said on the other sideline. It might simply come down to who can produce a more-professional effort this week. I'm taking the points.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Cincinnati Bengals plus 2.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Cincy vs. Denver game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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