It's officially playoff time in the NFL, and this is what teams work all year for - for a shot in the postseason. The Colts will host the Bengals on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the Colts have opened as four point favorites. The over/under for the game is set at 49.
The last time the Colts played the Bengals, it was also at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Colts dominated the game from start to finish, winning 27-0. The Colts opened the game by forcing eight straight three and outs on Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense, playing without receiver A.J. Green. Indy allowed just 135 total yards and allowed the Bengals to convert only 1 of 13 third downs and 0 for 1 fourth downs. Andrew Luck threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns without turning the football over. It was perhaps the most complete game the Colts played in the entire regular season.
It won't be the same story this time, however. Perhaps most notably is with the running game. In the game earlier in the year, rookie running back Jeremy Hill got just four carries and gained just 15 yards for the Bengals, but he has really emerged since then. He rushed for 1,124 yards and nine scores while averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season, and along with Giovani Bernard the Bengals have a great two back system. They'll very likely run the football and then run some more against the Colts in an effort to change the result from last time. Their entire approach will probably be different, too.
This Colts team isn't among the best in the NFL and they have a lot of issues, but the Bengals are perhaps the best matchup for them in the playoffs and they really have a good chance to win the game this weekend at home. Because of that, the Colts have opened as four-point home favorites over the Bengals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.