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ATS Pick: Cincinnati vs Minnesota (Wk 14)

Cincinnati Bengals (9-3) at Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

Mitch Wilson

Mitch Wilson

NFL Football: Sunday December 13, 2009 1 PM EST
The Line: Minnesota Vikings – 6 1/2

Two of the best teams in the NFL clash in Minnesota as the NFC North leading Minnesota Vikings host the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals in what could be a Super Bowl preview.


For the first time this season, the Minnesota Vikings showed that they are human as they were handled by the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football. Though it was the Vikings second loss this season, it was the first sign they they were vulnerable in several areas as the Cardinals moved the ball through the air almost at will and Minnesota couldn’t establish the running game. The Cards double covered Percy Harvin and left the other wider receiver in single coverage thus neutralizing the all world rookie. It will be interesting to see how the Vikings rebound as both of their losses this year have been on the road but both against quality teams. Is the secret to beating the Vikings out of the bag or is just a blemish on the record of a well oiled machine? We will certainly find out this week as the Bengals have been one of the best teams all season. Defensively, the Vikings need to get healthy as they don’t have wide spread injuries, just key injuries to Antoine Winfield and then the loss of E.J. Henderson for the season.

With a win or a loss by two of their division foes, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the Cincinnati Bengals can wrap up the AFC North, something very few expected they would be doing this season. The Bengals have played solid football and though they haven’t been lighting teams up, they find themselves on the right side of the scoreboard nost of the time. This Bengal team is keying in on the running game led by cast off running back Cedric Benson who has recently been joined by another castoff, Larry Johnson.

The Bengals have the ability to throw and have a solid receiving corps but without Chris Henry they seem to have lost one of the better deep threats. Aside from running the ball, the other side of the solution for the Bengals is the play of their defense. Cincinnati hired Marvin Lewis as heir head coach several years ago after he won the Super Bowl as the defensive coordinator with the Ravens and finally it is paying off, big time.

Minnesota is 3-1-1 against the spread in their last five home games but just 2-7 against the spread when playing a team with a winning record. Cincinnati is 6-0 against the spread when playing a team with a winning record and 8-0 as an underdog.

This is a game between two of the better teams and though they aren’t in the same conference so it doesn’t have a lot of the tie breaker implications as it would if they both were, it is one both of these teams want as they want to close out their divisions. I think this could be one of the harder hitting games of the week. It looks like this spread is a little big at this point and I look for it to come down further. I like the Bengals chances with the points at least and depending on how the injury report looks at game time, it may even be worth taking Cincinnati on the money line to hand yet another NFC North team a loss.

Mitch’s Pick: Cincinnati Bengals + 6 1/2

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  1. Brett Favre suddenly looked very average last week in a loss to Arizona. It is only one game, but how he plays today should be a good indication of his ability to bounce back as the season wears on. A 40 year old body just doesn’t recover as quickly as it use to.