Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-7, 43)
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the most dominant defensive teams in the NFL but are being overlooked among the contenders in the AFC. The Bengals will attempt to change that perception when they host another division leader in the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Cincinnati is fifth in the NFL in scoring defense and can take another step toward clinching the AFC North by shutting down Andrew Luck and the AFC South-leading Colts.
Indianapolis is enjoying a three-game lead in the AFC South but is showing some cracks with losses in two of the last four contests. Luck is completing just 57.8 percent of his passes while throwing for two touchdowns and five interceptions in that span. Luck is without favorite target Reggie Wayne and will be dealing with a Cincinnati pass rush that has recorded 36 sacks - including 18 in the last five games - and is a perfect 5-0 at home.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS.
LINE: The Bengals opened -5 and are now -6.5. The total is down one point from the opening 44.
WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the high-20s with snow and/or freezing rain.
ABOUT THE COLTS (8-4): Indianapolis all but clinched the division with a 22-14 triumph over Tennessee last weekend - its second win over the second-place Titans in three weeks - and can officially wrap up its second straight playoff berth with a win over Cincinnati. The Colts could use the recovery period gained by clinching early to rest up its offensive line, which is on to its fourth left guard with Hugh Thornton (neck) and Jeff Linkenbach (quad) ailing and Mike McGlynn struggling. “(I) have not made any final decisions on anything as far as the offensive line goes,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano told ESPN.com. “Just go to work on correcting things we need to correct.”
ABOUT THE BENGALS (8-4): Cincinnati is two games up on the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North and would like to have the division sewn up before closing the regular season against the Ravens on Dec. 29. Andy Dalton passed for a total of 283 yards in the last two games but managed to fit four TD passes into those two triumphs while leaning on a running game that is improving. BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 92 yards in last week’s 17-10 win at San Diego, and he and Giovani Bernard have combined for 501 yards over the last four games.
* Favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Colts are 4-0 ATS in their last four vs. AFC.
* Bengals are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games.
* Over is 5-1 in Colts last six games overall.
1. Colts LB Robert Mathis (15.5) is one sack away from passing Dwight Freeney (16) for the franchise record.
2. Dalton is one of two quarterbacks in NFL history (Peyton Manning) to throw for at least 3,000 yards in each of his first three seasons.
3. Cincinnati snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series with a 27-17 victory in the last meeting on Oct. 16, 2011.