Matchup Problem: Pick a receiver. Any of the Colts receiving threats could give the Bengals problems. Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Pierre Garcon, are all playmakers, but thankfully they will have Curtis Painter throwing them the football. Mike Zimmer said earlier in the week that the Colts boast the best receivers that the Bengals have seen by far. And he’s dead-on. The Bengals will have to contain the Indianapolis receivers if they hope to win.
Player to Watch: Andre Smith. I’m anxious to see how Smith does against the Colts pass rushers. Dwight Freeney will likely face off against Andrew Whitworth all game, leaving Smith to battle Robert Mathis. At times this season, Smith has looked a step slow against speed rushers. It will be interesting to see if he can fare well against Mathis, one of the league’s better defensive ends.
How the Bengals can win: Run the ball on offense and pressure Painter on defense. The Colts have been susceptible to the running game, giving Cincinnati a golden opportunity to get its ground attack healthy heading into the bye week. On the other side, the Colts are unlikely to have Joseph Addai on offense, meaning their running game will be relying upon Donald Brown and rookie Delone Carter. Painter will probably have to make some plays through the air to win. Hopefully, the Bengals talented platoon on the defensive line will wreak havoc and prevent Painter from getting comfortable. Also look for the Bengals to get their first interception this season.
I like the Bengals to win tomorrow, but I think this winless Colts team is desperate and dangerous, so I’m not sure Cincinnati will cover the spread. I’ll call it Bengals 24-20.