When the 2021 NFL season began, few people could have predicted that the Cincinnati Bengals would be playing in the Divisional Round of the postseason. After all, they were only a four-win team last year.
Fast forward and the Bengals are set to play the No. 1 Tennessee Titans in an AFC Divisional Round game this weekend. Cincinnati might be the 3.5-point road underdog on FanDuel Sportsbook, however, that doesn't mean the Bengals can't upset the Titans.
Bengals vs Titans Odds
One way that the Bengals can upset the Titans is by continuing to lean into their passing game. Tennessee has proven to have one of the best run defenses in the league and the best way to work around that is for Joe Burrow to keep doing what he's been doing.
The former first overall pick has thrown for 10 touchdowns over his last three games, including two four-TD performances. Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd form one of the best wideout trios in the league and could be busy against a Titans secondary that gave up three passing TDs to the lowly Houston Texans in their last game.
Another way that Cincinnati can win is by shutting down Tennessee's run game. Fortunately, the Bengals' run defense has improved lately, surrendering 96 or fewer rushing yards in six of their last seven games. If the run game is taken away, the Titans will be forced to do something they haven't excelled at: throwing the ball.
Meanwhile, the Titans' aerial attack — aside from A.J. Brown — has been inconsistent lately, which has led to their rushers seeing the brunt of offensive opportunities. D'Onta Foreman and company have done well in that regard, however, slowing them down and forcing the Titans to throw the ball gives Cincinnati its best opportunity to win.
Star running back Derrick Henry could make his return from the injured reserve this week, which will add a new obstacle for the Bengals. While he may not be 100% after his absence, Cincinnati can't afford to give him any space because even a 70% Henry is more dangerous than most other RBs.
Nevertheless, it'll be an uphill battle for Cincinnati this weekend. If the Bengals win, FanDuel Sportsbook is listing them as having +1500 odds to go on to win Super Bowl LVI.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.