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Sunday Night Football Moneyline, Point Spread and Preview

Cincinnati Bengals(4-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs(5-1)

  • Where: Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City, MO
  • When: October 21, 2018 8:15 pm EST
  • Spread: Bengals (+6) at Chiefs (-6)
  • Moneyline: Bengals (+210) at Chiefs (-250)
  • Over / Under: Over 58.5 (-110) vs Under 58.5 (-110)

Was last week’s Tom Brady vs Patrick Mahomes showdown a pair of quarterbacks duking it out on the gridiron, or was it Yoda vs Obi Wan Kenobi?

Fans often-times treat the quarterback position like the American Presidency or the Popehood. Coaches are even swept into “believing in” a particular QB for no rational reason, instead of evaluating the quarterbacks like any position group.

For instance, former Arizona Cardinal head coach Ken Whisenhunt once decided with only 2 weeks left in the preseason that he no longer trusted starting QB Matt Leinart. Not only did the coach choose to make such a momentous decision around August 15th instead of a more logical April 15th, the HC’s sudden revulsion at Leinart’s on-field and off-field persona led “Whiz” to plunge an entire season down the drain. He replaced Leinart with Derek Anderson, a career backup who sprayed incompletions and gimme-style INTs all over the field, then replaced Anderson with an assortment of hapless practice-squad players.

The holy ritual of choosing a savior-or-else at QB had collected another victim. An NFL head coach had moved his own’s team’s QB position rank from “fair” to “critical” to “legendarily bad” in only a few short, compulsive weeks.

Meanwhile, getting asked to side with a particular signal-caller over another in your hometown can feel like the Inquisition. “Who do you believe in?”

Betting at sportsbooks is not known as a noble endeavor but it might be if we ever stop to think about it. Betting on games is where all of the myth-making has to stop. You can “believe in” somebody all you want, but if you are overlooking facts to stump for your guy (and bet consequently) then the gridiron is likely to respond with a cold, costly smack. Gamblers who examine athletes’ skills without bias are rewarded.

As opposed to the spiritual approach of “believing in” someone as an NFL signal-caller, I prefer the angle Peter King of Sports Illustrated has embraced in which all QB play is part of a continuum that is ever-changing. Today’s GOAT is tomorrow’s has-been…we have seen that process play out in recent times with none other than Peyton Manning.

In other words, Mahomes may not be the most-talented palooka ever to stand in the pocket for the Kansas City Chiefs. That distinction goes to Joe Montana. But boy, oh boy, is Mahomes ever making the most from his time on top of the wheel.

The Chiefs are only a (-6) favorite to thrash the Cincinnati Bengals at home this Sunday night. Considering that “best offense in the NFL” has been the consensus around the squad for over a month now, at first glance you would think that the Vegas consensus would be a tad more liberally-drawn.

But NFL point spreads tend to be below a TD unless a tough team is playing a poor one.

Kansas City vs Cincy – Preview and Prediction

KC has been fascinating to watch. The offense is everything Andy Reid anticipated when he shipped Alex Smith off to Washington in order to start Mahomes. Through 6 weeks, the Chiefs rank as the NFL’s most competent team with the football.

The fresh-faced QB had a nervous start last week, throwing 2 1st-half interceptions against the Patriots in prime-time and falling down 24-9 at the half.

Mahomes still led KC all the way back, ultimately losing to Tom Brady 43-40. Mahomes threw for 352 yards and 4 touchdowns in the game.

The flaw in his supporting cast is the defense. The Chiefs rank 27th in the league in points allowed per game and 28th in defensive effectiveness. Cincinnati should look to exploit KC on the ground, as KC sports the league’s most awful run defense. The Chiefs are built to out-score teams, not to stop them. So far, the only team they have been unable to outscore is led by the best 40-something QB what the gridiron gods ever produced.

Bengals Beaten Up in Pittsburgh?

Cincinnati sits at a relatively astounding 4-2, but is coming off a not-at-all surprising 28-21 loss to the Steelers. Steelers-Bengals games are always hard hitting, wicked contests. Since 2016, the Bengals are 1-3 the week following a scrum with the Steelers. Cincinnati’s offense is much improved in 2018 under new OC Bill Lazor, by ground and by air. Andy Dalton is all smiles and slingin’ TD passes, but it takes more than a comfortable QB to beat Kansas City. At least we can say it helps to have Dalton feeling cozy in the playbook.

The Bengals welcomed Joe Mixon back last week against Pittsburgh after he missed a few games after a minor knee procedure. Cincinnati has not lost this year when Mixon carries the ball close to 20 times. It is expected that Lazor will take a more run-heavy approach this week at Arrowhead, both as a way to re-integrate Mixon back into the full offense and as a way to keep the potent Chiefs offense on the sideline.

Cincinnati’s defense is not great in its own right, but as we have seen with the Chiefs again and again, it does not really matter. They are going to score; you just have to find ways to score with them.

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I am liking the Chiefs to cover, since playing at home is such a plus for an OL which is already playing at a high level. Against the Bengals, whichever offense can get the edge will complete more passes in the flat. Neither team will be all that susceptible to the bomb, meaning that Reid’s methodical offense will control and win the game.

Take Kansas City (-6) or on the moneyline at Arrowhead.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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