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Final score predictions for Bengals vs. Lions

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The Cincinnati Bengals have a potential bounce-back game in front of them on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

But it could end up as a major letdown if the team doesn’t take care of business, too.

Those Bengals are back to being road favorites in a matchup with the winless Lions. No great shock there — Joe Burrow and Co. are 3-2 this season, with both losses coming by just three points apiece. The Lions, rebuilding with Jared Goff under center after shipping away Matthew Stafford, have yet to win a game.

Most metrics say the Bengals should win this game. The Bengals average 22.8 points per game to Detroit’s 19.6. The defense allows just 20.0 points per game to Detroit’s 27.6. At Pro Football Focus, the Bengals offense grades at a 77.3 and defense 69.0 to Detroit’s 67.5 and 46.6, respectively.

To be totally fair, the Lions haven’t always played like a winless team. They played San Francisco close and nearly toppled Baltimore. But they also lost by 10 or more to Green Bay and Chicago. Goff struggles under pressure and doesn’t have any major threats to target through the air and the defense struggles to generate pressure, hence the minus-40 point differential so far this year.

None of which is to say the Bengals are guaranteed a win. Erratic play-calling has held back an offense with huge potential to date. A revolving door at right guard and up-and-down play from the offensive line in front of Burrow hasn’t helped. And at times, neither has Burrow, especially when it comes to putting his body on the line in recent weeks.

So far, there haven’t been any major warning signs that a superb Bengals defense should struggle against a team like the Lions, especially if Trey Hendrickson and D.J. Reader keep wreaking havoc inside.

On paper, Cincinnati should cruise, especially if the offense can put points on the board early and make a bad Detroit attack even more one-dimensional. So long as the pocket remains clean for Burrow, which it should, this should be a nice rebound game for a team that then has to turn around and deal with Baltimore.

Prediction: Bengals 28, Lions 10

List

How the Bengals can avoid an upset against the Lions