Handy Andy to star for Bengals
Our NFL expert David John revisits the Super Bowl market and fancies Cincinnati to go well at 16/1.
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The late drama in week 17 for the scramble to make the play-offs did not disappoint.
Pittsburgh almost got in after starting the season 0-4 but Kansas City kicker Ryan Succup's controversial missed field goal from 41 yards as time expired gave San Diego their opportunity to ultimately progress in overtime against the Chiefs.
Green Bay and Philadelphia both won on the to get in as well and join the "Delighted Dozen" whose dream of Super Bowl glory remains alive.
If you chose to follow the ante-post advice here at the Betting Zone then you are still in with a fighting chance also as both Denver (7/1) and New Orleans (22/1) have their eyes on New Jersey in February.
The former now trade at no bigger than 11/4 after quarterback Peyton Manning's record-breaking season and the number one seeding in the AFC means the road to the Super Bowl will have to go through Colorado.
New Orleans can be backed at 25s having lost two of their last three games which saw them drop from the extremely favourable number two seeding right down to number six.
They are still capable of winning it all but they will have to overcome a poor record on the road - starting with a tricky journey to Philadelphia in the wild card round.
I do believe there is one team that is perhaps a little overpriced and that is Cincinnati at 16/1 with a couple of firms.
The winners of the AFC North are perhaps the most balanced team left in the event with the ability to both score points and also keep a rival in check with some solid defensive work.
They have got to the play-offs in both of the last two seasons but were dumped out on both occasions at the first hurdle on the road in Houston.
That means the current group of players have still to break their collective post-season duck but the prospects have increased greatly this time around with a home game against San Diego to start off.
The Bengals maintained their perfect record in the Queen City with a convincing success over Baltimore in week 17 and the pieces look in place for a youthful roster to get on a bit of a roll.
It is possible to question whether quarterback Andy Dalton has what it takes to win games at this time of year considering he threw four more interceptions against the Ravens but he does seem to possess a valuable short memory and his touchdown strike to AJ Green that followed shortly after one of the picks highlighted he does not lack confidence.
There are no glaring weaknesses on a defense that is led by tackling machine Vontaze Burfict and 20 interceptions so far on the season (tied for 5th in the NFL) proves they can change the flow of a game with big play.
The Bengals are sure to have learned from those two prior play-off losses and outside of trying to halt the Denver scoring juggernaut, I don't feel they have anything to fear from the rest of the challenge in the AFC, including a trip to face New England and Tom Brady, who they have already beaten this year.