Cincinnati vs Tennessee Preview
January 22, 4:30 pm ET, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Cincinnati- 4 Seed (AFC North) 11-7 overall
Tennessee- 1 Seed (AFC South) 12-5 overall
Why Cincinnati will win-
The Bengals delivered the franchise its’ first playoff victory in 31 years defeating the Raiders 26-19 last week. Now they head to Nashville to face the AFC’s top seeded Titans in a matchup that on paper is very favorable. Cincinnati’s pass rush has been solid all year generating 45 sacks including 3 last week on Derek Carr. It will face a Titans O-line that has been dreadful ranking 26th in the NFL in sacks allowed per game despite the offense ranking in the bottom half in pass attempts per game. The Bengals received good news this week with DE Trey Hendrickson being cleared to play (concussion). QB Joe Burrow who threw for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns against Las Vegas in the Wild Card round should be able to pick apart the Titans secondary that gives up over 245 yards per game passing which ranks 25th in the league.
Why Tennessee will win-
The atmosphere at Nissan Stadium should be electric with the expected return of star running back Derrick Henry who missed the entire second half of the regular season with a foot fracture. Tennessee also has a stout pass rush led by Harold Landry III who has recorded 12 sacks on the year and will look to add to that total against the Bengals O-line that ranks 30th in the NFL in sacks allowed per game at 3.2.
Key to the Game-
Which O-line will step up? Both teams come into the game ranking near the bottom of the league in sacks allowed and both are going up against formidable pass rushes. With vulnerable secondaries on both sides as well, whichever team does the best job of giving their quarterback time in the pocket will likely come away victorious.
Eye Test Analytics Predicted Score- Tennessee by 3.23 points