Doc's Morning Line: Final prediction for Bengals-Titans in Saturday's playoff game

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In 2000, the Bengals hosed me from 9,363 miles away.

I was at the Olympics in Sydney, where sports betting was legal. The Bengals were playing at Jacksonville. The Jags were good, The Men were not. At a sports book inside a Sydney hotel, I laid down $100 Aussie and took the 12.5 points Cincinnati was getting.

The Jaguars won, 13-0. They kicked a field goal with 1:45 left.

My luck as sports bettor is not as good as a weather person’s ability to pick snowfall totals. If I pick your team to win, it will not. If I actually pay cash money for my choices, rush to Hollywood or Belterra or your bookie and bet the other guys.

That’s prelude for saying I think the Bengals will win in Nashville Saturday.

Is your loyalty for cash bigger than your loyalty to the Bengals? Run, don’t walk to the window.

Cincinnati Bengals: Paul Daugherty: Let's say it again, Bengals fans. Cincinnati 26, Las Vegas 19. Amen

Here’s what will happen according to me. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Joe Burrow is better than Ryan Tannehill, and certainly hotter. The Titans defense doesn’t match up well with Cincinnati’s offense. TN is 2nd in the league in stopping the run, but 25th against the pass. The Titans can try to rush Burrow. They can blitz. Good luck with that.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill will take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the next round.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill will take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the next round.

They can play zone, with the idea of keeping Ja’Marr Chase and the wides in front of them. They can do whatever. Burrow has been sacked 51 times, yes, but lately he has been all but impervious to a pass rush. He gets the ball out so quickly and so accurately and to the right guy, he has neutralized the rush to an important extent. You can’t sack who you can’t catch.

When Burrow does feel the warmth, he becomes excellent at dancing outside the pocket, where he might be more dangerous than he is within the pocket. Ask Tyler Boyd.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass in the first half the AFC wild card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass in the first half the AFC wild card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

And by kickoff Saturday, Saint Joe will not have thrown an interception in 48 days. The Titans can play bend don't break D, hoping the more throws Burrow has to make, the more opportunities he has to make a mistake. But he doesn't make mistakes. With 8:07 left in the loss to the Chargers, on Dec. 5, Burrow got picked off. Not one since.

Tennessee’s best chance isn’t a great one. It’s to limit Burrow’s minutes by hoarding the ball. The Titans get Derrick Henry back, probably not in a 30-carry role, which won’t hurt them because they’ve been excellent running the ball without him. They were 6-2 with Henry and 6-3 without him.

Derrick Henry was placed on injured reserve with a fractured foot on Nov. 1.
Derrick Henry was placed on injured reserve with a fractured foot on Nov. 1.

The bigger the time-of-possession gap, the more likely the team that owns it will win. And Tennessee will work against a Bengals D-line missing Larry Ogunjobi.

Howevuh . . .

Tannehill has been sacked almost as much as Burrow. His passer rating is the lowest it has been since 2015, he’s 19th in the league in yards per attempt. He isn’t a guy who’s going to win a game when the rest of his team isn’t playing well.

More: Doc's Morning Line: 10 things from Bengals' playoff win over Raiders

The elevation thing. It matters in January.

Burrow’s an elevator man. If the Bengals can avoid turnovers and their defense can get Burrow the ball about half the time, they’re going to win. They might be just the 3rd-best team left in the AFC, but the team they’re playing is #4.

Joe Burrow: Go behind the scenes of Joe Burrow's preparation to understand his confidence with Bengals

One more thing that might mean something. The Titans placekicker is Randy Bullock. He has made exactly one FG longer than 46 yards this year. Evan McPherson has made seven.

Tennessee Titans kicker Randy Bullock (14) leaves the field after missing a field goal during the first quarter at NRG Stadium Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
Tennessee Titans kicker Randy Bullock (14) leaves the field after missing a field goal during the first quarter at NRG Stadium Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Men 26, Titans 24, after which Joe Burrow will model his latest favorites in eye-wear and head-wear and announce his personal cigar line, Smokin' Joes.

Now, then . . .

THE TITANS HATE YOU. Or at least they don’t want you in their stadium. From Channel 5 in Nashville:

We want Nissan Stadium to be two tone blue. And so by limiting this transfer window, it also limits the number of visiting team fans that we’ll have in the stadium," said Brooke Ellenberger, Vice President of Ticketing for the Titans.

Jessie Bates: How Jessie Bates navigated his toughest NFL season amid contract negotiations with Bengals

After tickets are purchased, either directly from the Titans or through approved NFL sites, they can't be transferred to someone else until 24 hours before kickoff. The earliest that could happen this weekend is Friday at 3:30 p.m. The hope is, that will be enough to prevent certain fans from a certain Ohio city from hitting the road.

"By limiting that transfer time would limit some of the resale and some of that transfer activity that would happen in advance," said Ellenberger.

Now, that hold on transfers doesn't apply if you buy tickets from websites like Ticketmaster, StubHub or Seat Geek. Those are official NFL partner organizations. If you buy a ticket from one of these sites, you will get your ticket at purchase.

WE LOSE BECAUSE YOU LOVE US TOO MUCH . . . The self-importance of the Dallas Cowboys is never less than loathsome. The latest from a team that hasn’t reached the NFC title game in 26 years is over the top, even for them.

According to Cowboys alumnus Troy Aikman, the Cowboys lack the necessary edge in big games partly because they get too much attention. Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

“You lead every sportscast, at the top of the show they’re talking about the Cowboys whether the team is good or not good,” he said. “Whether it’s ESPN or NFL Network or all those Sunday morning shows, there is a segment every week, usually at the top, that talks about the Cowboys.”

Aikman suggested that it’s tough for coach Mike McCarthy to cultivate a sufficient edge for his players with so much spotlight directed at the team whether they’re winning or not. Aikman’s comments come a day after former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said the perks of the organization “ruins some players.”

Just stop.

The Cowboys lose because they aren’t as good as the good teams they play. Wearing a Dallas uniform doesn’t make Dak Prescott an elite quarterback. It just makes him a cut below Jimmy G on wild card weekend.

Since they won it all in ’95, the Cowboys are 4-11 in the postseason. They’re never as good as we (and they) think they are.

Bengals: Zac Taylor's defining moment in the Bengals' playoff win and what it showed about him

THIS HAS REACHED EPICALLY ARROGANT PROPORTIONS. Yahoo did a story on baseball snobs who delight in trashing the selections of Hall of Fame voters. Lots of folks who live and die with the game share one common trait:

They think you’re stupid if you don’t agree with them.

They have their numbers. They have their Bill James books. They know what they know. Just ask them. They’re social media tough guys. They’ve made voting for the Hall a chore, not a pleasure. Or an honor.

Yahoo:

“So many of these candidates, you crack open their candidacy and it’s a referendum on one idea or another as to what defines a Hall of Famer,” says Jay Jaffe, a FanGraphs writer and the industry’s foremost expert of objective Hall of Fame analysis.

By now, nearly every column about the Hall includes an effort to preempt the backlash it is sure to inspire or at least a weary acceptance of the inevitability. The current process has become so unpleasant that new Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch is at least open to the idea of changing it down the line rather than preside over an indefinite annual cycle in which voters enrage the public with their bad ballots and readers harass them in response.

I’ve voted 24 times. It’s a privilege, but I won’t miss doing it when I’m done working. I’m sure the snobs won’t miss me, either. It all works out in the end, doesn’t it?

AND NOW. . .

Hey Michelle! won’t sleep for three days.

Happy Who Dey Weekend!

Our fantastic city never hibernates… There’s always so many fun things to do and here are a few of my picks.

The Penguin Parades ~ The Cincinnati Zoo invites you to waddle with the penguins now through February 18th every Friday – Sunday. The parade times are 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. FYI: It must be below 50 degrees. Meet the baby penguin, Rose, named in honor of Betty White.

Cirque Goes Broadway ~ January 21- 23. Music Hall is a wonderful space to experience the amazing combination of Cirque and Pops. Watch as the stage lights up with acrobats and contortionists as they move to the music of the Cincinnati Pops with sounds from Frozen, Miss Saigon, Ragtime and more.

Bar Bar ~ This is a cool new bar in OTR/ Findlay area from the same owners as Queen City Radio. It has such a cool old school 80’s/90’s vibe . It's going to be my new weekend hangout for sure! I’ll be head bobbing to the tunes on the jukebox and sipping on some really good cocktails.

Nicholson’s Burn’s Night Celebration ~ This Irish girl is lovin’ a little “St. Practice Day.” This event is Tuesday, January 25th and will be everything “Irish” with live Celtic Music, a variety of whiskeys, the Highland Dancers, Bagpipers, Robert Burns (the famous Scottish poet), and more. This is a ticketed event - for general reservations call 513-564-9111.

Cheers!

Imbiber Dave found good $20 Scotch. This is not a misprint.

I know this is Doc’s territory, but how much fun was that game last weekend?! My boys particularly enjoyed me standing on the ottoman slapping the ceiling when the ball was intercepted to seal the deal.

This outburst along with the cornucopia of vocabulary I shared during the previous three hours was livened by the mixed bag of yummy brews I just so happened to have on hand. MadTree’s Holly Days IPA paired well with the pound of Cheez-It’s I consumed per quarter, and the Rhinegeist Dad was flowing like a fine wine.

The real MVP was nearly as shocking as our beloved Bengals finally winning a playoff game. Did you know Trader Joe’s has scotch? It’s single malt, and it’s $20. Oh, and it actually tastes good. Mind. Blown. My scotch loving neighbor turned me on to this gem, Lismore Speyside single malt. Now of course it’s a little young and alcohol forward, but at $20 a bottle it punches well above its weight. Grab a bottle for this weekend!

Cheers!

cincybeerguydave@gmail.com

FunMaster David goes fishing and gets. . . pink?

It is a pleasure to get the chance to write about events in our city and it can't be a coincidence that once I start the Bengals win their first playoff game in 31 years. I'll be expecting a Super Bowl ring in the mail.

It may be colder than a witch's nose outside but the Duke Energy Center is bringing the outdoors indoors with the Travel, Sports, and Boat Show this weekend only. Running from Jan. 19-23, the event features a kid's trout fishing pond, travel destination information, and a huge selection of powersports and boats available for view or potential purchase. There will also be a Hawg Trough Seminar Series for those of you who are fishing enthusiasts. Tickets are available for purchase online at CincySportsShow.com or at select Kroger stores. Children ages 12 and under receive free entry with an adult ticket purchase.

Elsewhere, Pink Floyd fans are in for a treat this weekend as tribute band Signs of Life will play an immersive show at the SORG Theater in Middletown this Saturday night at 8:00pm. The concert is not only a musical experience, but also features visually stimulating graphics, light displays, and color schemes, all in the style of Pink Floyd. Tickets are available for purchase at sorgoperahouse.com.

TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . I never miss a chance to showcase Live at Darryl’s House. This one features a double dose of blue-eyed soul. Smoother than Dave’s $20 bottle.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Titans prediction for NFL playoffs