Sunday, November 22, 2020, FedExField, Landover, Maryland, 1 p.m. ET
Bengals at Washington Betting Preview: Bengals (+1.5/+102), Washington (-1.5/-120)
The Bengals (2-6-1) appear to be the same team that earned the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, but have improved in Year 2 under Zac Taylor and in the debut season of No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow.
Slotting in the AFC North with undefeated Pittsburgh and playoff-contenders in Baltimore and Cleveland, Cincinnati has still managed to contend most weeks. The Bengals are 1-2-1 this season in one-score games after an 0-8 mark in 2019.
Cincinnati is just two weeks removed from an impressive home win over the Tennessee Titans, but remains 0-4-1 on the road. Burrow has earned high marks so far for his accuracy and poise, and he’s thrown for 2,485 yards and 12 touchdowns against just five interceptions this season.
But with running back Joe Mixon still a question mark due to a foot injury, the Bengals’ one-sided offense was exposed at Pittsburgh where Burrow slumped to just 212 passing yards and the team finished 0-for-13 on third down conversions.
Injuries and COVID-19 issues have played havoc in the secondary, and the Bengals allowed 333 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to the Steelers after having just three cornerbacks available for that matchup. Cincinnati should get some stability there as cornerbacks Leshaun Sims and Mackensie Alexander are projected to return on Sunday.
Washington Football Team
Incredibly, Washington (2-7) remains in the division title chance thanks entirely due to the division in which it resides. The NFC East is a combined 2-18-1 against teams outside its division in 2020.
Any team that can string together two or three wins can seize control, and Washington has looked capable of late after the insertion of Alex Smith as the starting quarterback. Washington has lost two straight, but by a combined six points, with Smith at quarterback.
Dwayne Haskins’ ineffectiveness and Kyle Allen’s ankle injury have left the offense unproductive most of the season. But Smith posted career highs of 38 completions and 390 passing yards in a 30-27 loss at the Detroit Lions in Week 10. Smith sparked Washington to a 21-point second-half comeback, and the 27 points scored were the most for the team since a Week 1 win against Philadelphia (27-17).
Defensively, Washington will lean on a front four stocked with first-round draft picks, including 2020 No. 2 overall selection Chase Young. Kendall Fuller has snagged four interceptions. Washington has held just two opponents under 20 points all season, and won both games.
Bengals at Washington Betting Pick
Bruised by a tough division featuring strong pass rushers, the Bengals are 0-4 in the AFC North. But they’ve more than held their own outside of it (2-2-1).
With injuries decimating the offensive line and secondary in recent weeks, Cincinnati was ill-prepared for the Steelers. But with some of those players returning, and with Burrow manning the controls, the Bengals have been a tough out for most teams on the schedule.
Washington is 2-3 at home, but thus far has been incapable of winning outside the NFC East (0-5). Smith has given the team a needed offensive spark, and he and receiver Terry McLaurin (57 catches, 787 yards, three touchdowns) could give the Bengals fits.
Bengals at Washington Betting Pick:
Bengals 28, Washington 24
Bengals at Washington Best Bet
Cincinnati will be looking to bounce back from one of its worst offensive performances of the season and, to date, Burrow has yet to produce consecutive games that don’t pass muster. The Bengals have reached 30 or more points five times this season, while Washington has yet to score more than 27.
With good weather conditions in the forecast, and both teams dealing with secondary injuries, points could be plentiful. Smith has provided a lift, but Washington still hasn’t proven it can win — outside the division or in a game that hits the four-touchdown mark.
Bengals at Washington Best Bet: OVER 46.5 total points (-110)