Broncos-Bengals Game Thread: Winner Has Inside Track to 1st Round Bye


Dec 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the ambitious New York Jets upsetting the New England Patriots Sunday 26-20 in overtime (no Bob Costas, we do NOT have to amend the overtime rules anymore than we already have) Sunday afternoon in the early window, the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals would have no worse than a first-round bye should they prevail tonight.

Monday Night Football has paid its dues with some pretty crummy match-ups this season (Ravens-Browns, what did ESPN do to the NFL to fall into such disfavor?) but they have definitively won the jackpot with tonight’s game.

The Bengals come into this game with the NFL’s #1 scoring defense (giving up only 17.4 points per game) while the Broncos are right behind them in second at 18.5 points allowed per contest.

Additionally, the Broncos’ defense is #1 in net yardage allowed per game (279.9 yards), as well as against the pass per game (200.0 yards) and the run (79.9). The Bengals are also strong in other defensive categories, as they are #8 in yards allowed per game (337.3 yards) and #7 against the run (93.2 yards). Nevertheless, the Broncos may have success passing if the offensive line does its job as the Bengals are #19 against the pass, giving up 244.1 yards per game. Notwithstanding his separated shoulder (his non-throwing one), signal-caller Brock Osweiler may be able to have success should he be granted time in the pocket.

Thus, despite both backup signal-callers playing for these teams, it should still be a great game because of the defenses and what is at stake in the playoff picture. The Broncos will have Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward back tonight as they are active. It will mark the first time in a while that both will see the field. The inactive list is below.

Bengals fans comprise a knowledgeable and wise fan-base so if any of them visit us tonight, please be kind to them as if you were on a Bengals’ blog, they’d be nice to you. May the best team win!