TV Schedule: Sunday, Dec. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium
Weather: High 60, Low 30
Line: Cincinnati (-7.5)
The Cincinnati Bengals have had a solid season in 2013 with a 9-5 record and a first place standing in the AFC North. It looks like the playoffs are not too far away and Cincinnati could be a dark-horse contender to make it to win the AFC and make it to a Super Bowl. Andy Dalton leads the 12th-ranked passing offense with 3,649 yards and 27 touchdowns while hitting A.J. Green 87 times for 1,268 yards and eight touchdowns. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard combine for the 19th-ranked rushing offense as Green-Ellis is the veteran of the two, rushing for 666 yards and six scores, while Bernard is a rookie who has 653 yards and five touchdowns.
On the other side of the field, the Minnesota Vikings have not quite had the season that they would have hoped for, posting a 4-9-1 record after a 10-win season a year ago. Minnesota was led by quarterback Christian Ponder to start the year, but Matt Cassel has since taken over and passed for 1,504 yards and nine touchdowns with just five interceptions. Adrian Peterson might be back by the end of the season as one of the league’s best running backs, rushing for 1,268 yards and eight scores — way off his pace from a season ago. Greg Jennings has emerged as the team’s leading receiver with 59 catches for 733 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensively, the Vikings have had one of the worst units in the league this season. Minnesota has the second-worse scoring defense and second-worst total defense in the league this season while having the third-worst passing defense. Cincinnati ranks higher — by far — in scoring defense, sixth, and total defense, sixth, than the Vikings. The Bengals also rank seventh in passing yards and fifth in rushing yards per game.
PREDICTION: Vikings 20, Bengals 34
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at email@example.com.