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ATS Pick: Detroit vs Cincinnati (Wk 13)

Detroit Lions (2-9) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-3)

Mitch Wilson

Mitch Wilson

NFL Football: Sunday December 6, 2009 1 PM EST
The Line: Cincinnati Bengals – 13

One team experiencing a major turn around and another hoping there is one in their future meet at Paul Brown Stadium as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Detroit Lions.

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It’s been a season of turn around and a season of comebacks for the Cincinnati Bengals as they stood by head coach Marvin Lewis through the bad times and now he’s around to see the good times as the Bengals are on the door step of clinching the AFC North division. Carson Palmer has stayed healthy, completing his comeback but his comeback isn’t nearly the biggest on this team making a comeback. Cast off running backs Cedric Benson and Larry Johnson now pair to make a formidable tandem in the running back rotation as Benson is back in action this week. While it could lessen the playing time of Johnson, LJ will still be seeing the field. While Johnson doesn’t have the best history at sharing playing time, perhaps he has learned something from past experiences and appreciates being on a winner, something he hasn’t experienced in a while. The Bengals recovered from their horrible road loss at Oakland and beat the Cleveland Browns last week. Though the Bengals didn’t dominate on the scoreboard, they dominated on the field and the outcome was never really in doubt. They own every tie breaker from their closest contenders in the division so their lead is actually slightly larger than just the game differential at this point.

The Detroit Lions had the number one overall pick in last year’s NFL draft and didn’t win a game all season a year ago. The Lions have already put two wins on the board and there are several teams with worse records at this point. QB Matthew Stafford was able to bounce back from his injury a week earlier to be a surprise starter on Thanksgiving Day along with his favorite target and one of the best emerging wide receivers in the game, Calvin Johnson, though it didn’t help Detroit from getting routed by divisional foe Green Bay. The Packers gouged Detroit’s secondary for big play after big play and Green Bay’s secondary intercepted Stafford and shut the Detroit offense down stone cold. Detroit wasn’t planning on making the playoffs this year.

This was about getting experience and seeing where they need to improve. perhaps the biggest area of need is depth across the board and unfortunately for Detroit, that is something that only comes with time.

Cincinnati is 4-1 against the spread in their last five home games against a team with a losing road record but they are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight as a favorite. Detroit is 5-1 against the spread following a double digit home loss but they are 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five road games and 0-3-1 against the spread when playing a team with a winning record.

This game is simply a mismatch and with it being on the road, it will probably make matters worse for the Lions. The Lions haven’t shown up on the road this season and being outdoors against a playoff team looking to close out one of the toughest and most physical divisions in all of football it may get ugly. Throw in two pretty good running backs carrying the ball like they are competing for playing time and this game looks more attractive by the minute.

Mitch’s Pick: Cincinnati Bengals – 13

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