We've reached the playoffs, with eight hopeful teams set to square off for a spot in the next round. Do we like the Colts or Bengals with our NFL picks this weekend?
Bengals vs. Colts Odds Overview
The Colts are four-point favorites on the NFL odds board for Wild Card Weekend. The lines are tightening up now that we've reached the playoffs, as we can't seem to find any other number available for action.
If you want to get involved with a total play, the number is hovering around 49.5 to 50 right now.
The Colts enter the postseason with a 11-5 record, which was good enough for the AFC South crown in a watered down division which only had Houston as another legitimate opponent. Indianapolis closed out the regular season by winning five of its last six games, though the competition wasn't exactly amazing.
Still, you can never count out the Colts now that Andrew Luck has grown into such a good quarterback. He's already shown fearlessness and has led Indianapolis to countless come-from-behind victories in the past, so we've learned to keep our faith in the Colts no matter what the circumstances. It looks like the team is getting healthy again too, as T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen are all expected to resume practice this week. Having everything healthy offensively would be a big-time boost for Luck.
Luck and company ranked #1 in passing yards per game throughout the regular season, while being listed at #22 in the run game. Defensively, the Colts were #12 against the pass and #18 against the run, so they haven't been world beaters on that side of the ball by any stretch of the imagination. That would help explain the high total.
Though they fell short in Week 17 and were unable to win the tough AFC North, the Bengals will still be liking their chances of making some noise as the five seed. Marvin Lewis' team closed out the season by going 5-2 over their final seven contests, and that included a home win over the Broncos and road victories over the Texans and Saints.
Unfortunately, not only did the Bengals lose to the Steelers in Week 17, they also lost A.J. Green, who's now in the concussion protocol. His status for Sunday's game has yet to be determined, so that's clearly going to be a situation we need to keep monitoring throughout the week. It's going to be mighty tough for Andy Dalton to move the ball down the field without his best weapon out there - Jeremy Hill, who's been fantastic in his rookie campaign, can only do so much.
That being said, Cincinnati should be feeling relatively confident regardless, considering they did very well out on the road this season. The Bengals went 5-3 away from home, with the standout win coming Week 1 in Baltimore. This is a team that's proven they can get the job done in the face of difficult circumstances.
When push comes to shove, we're going to base our NFL picks on who we simply have more faith in at the quarterback position, and that's an easy call.
Dalton has faltered when it's mattered most many times in the past, and we trust Luck far more, especially with him being at home with likely a full complement of offensive weapons to choose from (aside from Bradshaw). The Bengals could be without their best weapon in A.J. Green, and that would obviously be a humungous blow to that offense.
With our NFL picks for Wild Card Weekend, we believe there's good value on Indianapolis at home, where they went 6-2 in 2014. That included a dominant 27-0 shutout win over this same Cincinnati team back in Week 7. Back the Colts as small favorites.
Free NFL Pick: Indianapolis Colts -3.5 at Pinnacle