Detroit will look to spoil what appears to Marvin Lewis’ final home game as head coach of the Bengals when it visits Cincinnati for a crucial contest on Sunday. The Lions are a game behind the final wild-card spot currently held by Atlanta with just two games to play and will need to win out to have any chances of reaching the postseason.
If Detroit does in fact finish 10-6, it will need the Falcons to lose both its game to land a berth as it holds the tiebreaker edge on both the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks, who also enter the weekend at 8-6 on the season. The Lions could also get in the playoffs if they win both games and either Carolina or New Orleans drops its final two. Cincinnati has been eliminated from playoff contention and it seems as if the team has completely thrown in the towel. The Bengals have been outscored 67-14 in its last two outings and the embattled Lewis suggested that he would pursue other options after the season.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. Line: Lions -4.5. O/U: 44.
ABOUT THE LIONS (8-6): Detroit has won two straight games and is 5-2 on the road behind Matt Stafford, who has thrown for 3,920 yards with nine games of multiple passing touchdowns on the season. Marvin Jones Jr. has been his top target with a career-high 970 yards (13th in NFL) on 58 catches, but Detroit continues to struggle to run the ball, ranking 31st in the league with an average of just 77.4 yards. Stafford will be playing behind a makeshift offensive line as three starters may miss the game, including center Travis Swanson who is in concussion protocol.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (5-9): Lewis has made no official retirement announcement, but he summed up his tenure at a recent press conference during the week. “I regret that we haven’t won more football games. I haven’t gotten us in good enough positions to win games and that’s my responsibility,” he said. Andy Dalton (2,860 yards passing, 21 TDs, 11 interceptions) is expected to start at quarterback after being relieved by AJ McCarron in the second half of last week’s 34-7 rout at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.
1. Detroit RB Theo Riddick didn’t play the second half of last week’s win over 20-10 win over the Bears with a wrist injury but he returned to practice this week.
2. Bengals rookie RB Joe Mixon (518 yards rushing, 4 TDs) has cleared concussion protocol and will start after missing the past two weeks.
3. Cincinnati WR A.J Green needs 20 yards receiving to reach 1,000 on the season for the sixth time in his career.
PREDICTION: Lions 30, Bengals 17