There were a lot of upsets around the NFL on Sunday. Will that continue on Monday when Houston visits unbeaten Cincinnati? Let's examine some NFL odds & game props for "Monday Night Football."
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The Bengals (8-0) need a win here to keep pace with New England (9-0) for the potential top seed in the AFC playoffs. Those clubs don't play this regular season. With Denver (7-2) being upset by Kansas City on Sunday, it's looking likely that the Patriots and Bengals will be Nos. 1-2 in the conference in whichever order. It appears New England has the easier schedule the rest of the way than Cincinnati does -- the Bengals are opening underdogs for next Sunday night's game at NFC West-leading Arizona. But a win here would be the longest winning streak in franchise history. Of the 21 teams that have started 8-0 or better during the Super Bowl era, all have made the playoffs and eight won the title. The Bengals are +800 on NFL odds to win the Super Bowl.
Houston (3-5) can tie Indianapolis for the lead in the sorry AFC South with a victory and the Texans know the Colts are without starting quarterback Andrew Luck for about a month due to injury. Might only take six victories to win that division. In every season since 1987, at least one team with a .500 or worse record through eight games has advanced to the postseason.
Andy Dalton 'Over/Under' 20.5 Completions, 265.5 Yards, 2 TD Passes, .5 INTs
Dalton has had a very spotty history in prime-time games but was very good last time out against Cleveland in a Thursday night game, completing 21-for-27 for 234 yard, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a season-best rating of 139.8. Dalton's season rating of 111.0 is just barely behind league-leader Tom Brady (111.1). If it weren't for Brady, Dalton might be the NFL MVP favorite. The Bengals are 1-3 against the Texans with Dalton as their starter, with two of the losses coming in the playoffs. Dalton has thrown two touchdowns against five interceptions in those games, with the team averaging only 16 points. But this Dalton is a much better player. Also, Houston will be without two defensive starters in cornerback Kareem Jackson and end/linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (who has been a total bust as the 2014 No.1 overall pick). With Jackson out, rookie Kevin Johnson will start at cornerback opposite Johnathan Joseph. Houston ranks No. 7 against the pass in allowing 227.0 yards per game. The Texans have allowed 16 TD passes and picked off six. Keep that in mind when placing your NFL picks.
Free NFL Picks: 'Over' all (I'm always going over .5 interceptions regardless of QB as it could always happen on a Hail Mary type play).
Brian Hoyer O/U 23 Completions, 265.5 Passing Yards, 1.5 TD Passes, .5 INTs
Hoyer knows the Bengals well from his Cleveland Browns days -- he was 2-0 against Cincinnati as Cleveland's starter. Last year in Cincinnati in a 24-3 win, Hoyer was 15-for-23 for 198 yards with no turnovers. Since replacing Ryan Mallett (since released) as Houston's starter, Hoyer has been pretty good. He has thrown at least two touchdown passes in five straight games compared to only two interceptions in that span. Hoyer's season rating of 97.1 is 10th in the NFL. The Bengals are No.14 against the pass in allowing 244.0 yards per game. They have given up only 10 TD passes and picked off eight.
Free NFL Picks: 'Over' all. Not confident that Houston will be able to run much so Hoyer will be throwing plenty.
A.J. Green O/U 5.5 Receptions, 82.5 Receiving Yards
DeAndre Hopkins O/U 7.5 Receptions 92.5 Receiving Yards
Green and Hopkins are two of the NFL's best five receivers this season without question. Green has caught 50 balls for 702 yards and four touchdowns. Hopkins has 66 catches -- a whopping 113 targets -- for 870 yards and six touchdowns. With Packers receiver Jordy Nelson out for the season, Hopkins is staking his claim as the NFL's best boundary receiver. The Bengals have not allowed a pass play of more than 29 yards in their last 13 quarters but Hopkins certainly could change that.
Free NFL Picks: 'Over' both on each guy.