The Cincinnati Bengals return to Nashville's Nissan Stadium, where in January they won their first road playoff game in franchise history. A road victory against the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans would go a long way toward helping the Bengals' playoff outlook. Here are my weekly Bengals game prediction:
NFL prediction: Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) at Tennessee Titans (7-3), 1 p.m., Sunday, CBS
The rematch of last season’s AFC divisional playoff game in Nashville seems to have the makings of it being a similar, grind-it-out, field-goal fest.
The Bengals and Titans combined for five field goals in Cincinnati’s 19-16 victory, which was capped by Evan McPherson’s 52-yard boot as time expired.
The Titans have again taken on the hard-nosed personality of their head coach, Mike Vrabel, the former Ohio State and New England linebacker. Nothing flashy. They win with a stingy defense and handing the ball off to Derrick Henry, who leads the NFL in rushing.
The old-school style hasn’t won the Titans much attention across the NFL. But Tennessee has quietly won seven of its last eight games and is tied for second in the AFC with seven wins.
Here’s where we’re going to find out if the Bengals can beat a top contending team on the road. They were healthy going into Nashville in January. That’s not the case now.
Kudos to the Bengals’ injury-plagued offense for a gutsy performance in last Sunday’s comeback win in Pittsburgh. The defense, however, may be more of a concern.
The Steelers’ woeful offense scored a season-high 30 points. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett threw for a career-high 265 yards. Could another mediocre quarterback have a big day?
Titans QB Ryan Tannehill should be motivated to avenge his three interceptions in the playoff game. He admitted to reporters last spring that the loss left a “deep scar” and that he needed therapy to “pull me out of a dark space.”
Tannehill’s been around a long time. His game plan is simple: Avoid self-inflicted mistakes, hand the ball off to Henry and let the Titans’ defense take care of business.
Prediction: Titans win, 23-20
Last week: Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh, 37-30. I predicted the Bengals would win, 21-17.
My season record: 8-2
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: NFL prediction: Cincinnati Bengals vs Tennessee Titans