Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Prediction, Odds, Depth Charts (12/10/23)

It’ll be a battle of backup quarterbacks as the Indianapolis Colts head down to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday (12/10/23). Get Colts vs. Bengals odds, picks and predictions below. Our best bet is Colts ML (-115).

Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals Prediction

This game may not feature either team’s young franchise quarterback, but it will feature the reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week. That’s right, take a bow Jake Browning, it was a performance to remember as he threw the ball 37 times, completing a remarkable 32 for 354 yards and a touchdown. Browning did what Joe Burrow – nor any other Bengals quarterback across the past three decades – never has been able to, and won a Monday Night Football game on the road.

Meanwhile, the Colts are riding high themselves. After initially losing three straight games in the wake of an injury to Anthony Richardson and falling to 3-5, they’ve won four games in a row. By virtue of a win over the Texans, they sit inside the AFC playoff field. Gardner Minshew is working his magic once more. While it hasn’t always been pretty on the stat sheet, Indy’s season is headed in a positive direction.

The Panthers, Patriots, Buccaneers and Titans, the teams Indy has beaten on its winning streak, aren’t exactly world beaters. The Bengals will be a real test of who this team actually is, even with Browning at the helm- let’s not forget that he went on the road and carved up a Jaguars team that is now 8-4 with the league’s sixth-best defense by DVOA.

Browning has to fall off to at least some degree. There’s likely a reason he hasn’t owned a starting job at any point until Burrow’s injury, and now that there’s a bit of tape available on his game, Indy should be able to game plan properly. Head Coach Shane Steichen is having a phenomenal first year at the helm while defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is one of the best in the business, so Browning should be much more challenged in this one than he has been in the past.

I’d also be considering Indy in this one even if Burrow was healthy and ready to go. These teams are essentially level by DVOA, with the Bengals in 14th and the Colts 16th, and Indy is much more balanced. They rank 17th offensively by the same metric and 12th defensively, while the Bengals are 13th and 27th, respectively. One especially notable facet of this matchup is that the Bengals simply cannot stop the run, a weakness the Colts will definitely be able to exploit.

Just a week after the last-ever Pac-12 game was played, it’s fitting that we have a quarterback matchup between legends from Washington and Washington State, two rivals torn apart by realignment. As is often the case when their alma maters clash, Browning and Minshew should provide us with an entertaining ballgame. But I believe that the Cougar will top the Husky in this one. The Colts are better-positioned in this matchup, and will further solidify their playoff positioning.

Indianapolis Colts vs Bengals Prediction: Colts ML (-115)

Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals Best Odds

The Colts are favored by just a point, or -115 on the moneyline. The Bengals are home underdogs, if you can even say that, with a moneyline of -105, while the total is set at 44 with odds of -110 on both sides.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals Key Injuries

Both teams are currently missing their starting quarterbacks, with Anthony Richardson and Joe Burrow both done for the season, but running back Jonathan Taylor also missed practice for Indy and Chase Brown was limited for in Bengals practice.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals Key Matchups

The Bengals will look to make things easy on Jake Browning and go after the Colts’ subpar run defense, while the Colts will look to exploit essentially the same weakness in the Bengals’ defense.

Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs. Cincinnati Bengals Ground Defense

With Jonathan Taylor in and out of the lineup for Indianapolis, Zack Moss has been the main man in the backfield and he’s done a pretty good job with the role. He’s picked up 723 yards at a rate of 4.5 per carry, with six big runs (20+ yards) and five touchdowns mixed in. He’s done it all behind a very mediocre offensive line, which ranks 24th in adjusted line yards, so it’s been a great rushing performance for the Utah alum.

He’ll be running at a Bengals ground defense that ranks 28th in success rate, 29th in DVOA, and an even 30th in EPA. They’ve struggled mightily slowing down opposing rushers this season, such as a couple weeks ago when they took on the Steelers, as Najee Harris exploded for easily his best game of the season and Jaylen Warren chipped in nicely as well, totaling nearly 150 rushing yards for the duo on just 28 carries.

Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense vs. Indianapolis Colts Ground Defense

It’s been a tough year for the Bengals on the ground, as Joe Mixon is averaging under four yards per carry for the second consecutive season. Chase Brown had something of a breakout performance in the win over the Jags, but he is already dealing with an injury, so his role going forward is a bit ambiguous. As for the line, they’re 21st in adjusted line yards and 20th in PFF’s grades, so it hasn’t been a banner year for them either.

Luckily for them, the Indy run defense has been an issue as well, ranking 26th by DVOA and a dismal 31st by PFF. Their downfall has been highlighted by that of former star linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who was actually let go earlier this year. The Colts have yet to find a way to replace his peak production, and could let Mixon have a nice day.

Indianapolis Colts Depth Chart

QB: Gardner Minshew
RB1: Zack Moss
RB2: Jonathan Taylor
LWR: Michael Pittman Jr.
RWR: Alec Pierce
SWR: Josh Downs
TE1: Kylen Granson

Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

QB: Jake Browning
RB1: Joe Mixon
RB2: Trayveon Williams
LWR: Ja’Marr Chase
RWR: Tee Higgins
SWR: Tyler Boyd
TE1: Irv Smith Jr

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From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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