Marvin Lewis brings his farewell tour to Sports Authority Field at Mile High Sunday when his Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) face off against the Denver Broncos (3-6) in a game that really meant something back in 1987.
If you want to watch this one and don’t have a time machine available to see Boomer Esiason and John Elway square off, you’ll have to tune your television, computer or mobile device to the CBS network and its affiliates at 4:25 p.m. EST.
The Game: Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (-2.5)
The Bengals and Broncos have faced off against each other 30 times with Denver holding a huge 21-9 edge in the all time series.
The Bengals have lost two straight to the Broncos, 20-17 in overtime in 2015 and 29-17 last year.
CINCINNATI BENGALS (3-6)
Marvin Lewis is about to wrap up his head coaching career whether he likes it or not. His contract with the Bengals is up at the end of the season and he’s hinting at retirement. Nobody is going to try to talk him out of it. What he’s able to do over these final seven games of the season will take all his talents and abilities as a head coach. Needless to say, I’m not expecting much.
Still, overall Lewis has been a successful coach. He’s taken the Bengals to the playoffs more often than not and even won a couple of division titles. He’s never won a playoff game as a head coach and since this team is in no danger of making the postseason, that’s not going to change in 2017.
The question Cincinnati has to ask itself as an organization now is if Lewis should take quarterback Andy Dalton with him to the great beyond. Dalton is an NFL starter, there’s no question about it. What we don’t know is if he’s maxed out what he’s capable of doing and is on the downside of his career. For the last two seasons, that seems to be the case. It could be just a change of coaching staff could bring him back to his 2015 form. I wouldn’t give up on him just yet, but I’d also draft one of these big quarterbacks coming out if they fall to the second round.
Cincy will have plenty of holes on the defense in this one. Cornerback Adam Jones, linebacker Kevin Minter and defensive tackle Pat Sims are all listed as out. Jones has a concussion, Minter an elbow injury and Sims is dealing with a calf.
DENVER BRONCOS (3-6)
Here’s a fun little piece of trivia for you. Once again Brock Osweiler gets the start for Denver, but guess who his back up quarterback will be. It’s none other than former first round pick Paxton Lynch. That means that not only has Trevor Siemian been demoted again, he won’t even be on the active roster for this game.
The Broncos were, of course, absolutely killed by the New England Patriots last week, 41-16. Are there any positives to take from that game? Osweiler went 18 of 33 for 221 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Not horrible, but not good enough when Tom Brady is picking the defense apart.
The defense is still performing up to its usual standards statistically. They’re No. 4 in the league in yards per game and No. 6 in points per game, but something is off about the unit without Wade Phillips calling the plays. They gave up nearly 400 yards of offense to the Patriots last week and only sacked Brady once.
It’s been an embarrassing stretch for Denver, but lucky for them the Bengals have arrived to save the day. Osweiler needs some confidence and a victory over Cincinnati could start to rebuild what Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans destroyed. I just don’t see Dalton and the Bengals offense being able to do much against the No-Fly zone in Denver. Still, it probably won’t be pretty. Broncos 20, Bengals 17
Straight up: 1-0
Against the spread: 0-1
Straight up: 9-5
Against the spread: 6-8
Straight up: 87-59
Against the spread: 75-70
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