Bengals vs Cardinals SNF Week 11 Pick

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While most of the Super Bowl talk has centered on teams like Carolina and New England so far in the 2015 season, the Sunday Night Football Bengals-Cardinals game could potentially be a dark horse Super Bowl preview.


NBC will have the Bengals and Cardinals from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Sunday. The Week 11 home game for the Cardinals is their only home contest in a stretch from Oct. 26 through Dec. 10, and it will mark the second consecutive SNF appearance for Arizona.


Both the Bengals and Cardinals have leads in their respective divisions heading into their Sunday Night Football contest, and both have put themselves in position to challenge for a first-round playoff bye, should they be able to finish the season as strongly as they started.


Cincinnati will have a slightly shorter week of preparation than Arizona in the SNF Bengals-Cardinals game, as Cincinnati played last Monday at home against Houston. Cincinnati opened the season with eight consecutive wins, including road wins at Oakland by 20, at Buffalo by 13, at Pittsburgh by 6, and at Baltimore by 4. The Bengals defense has been especially good in road games thus far, allowing a total of 68 points in those four wins (17 points per game). Arizona is 3-1 at home, meanwhile, with its only loss against St. Louis in Week 4, 24-22.


After the Bengals-Cardinals game, Cincinnati will finish with only two of its final six games against teams currently over .500 (Pittsburgh and Denver), so Cincinnati certainly is a heavy favorite to end up in the playoffs. Arizona will have a tougher finish, facing Minnesota, Green Bay, and Seattle late in the season, but all three games will be in Glendale.


Running back Chris Johnson has been a key cog in the Arizona offense, rushing for 676 yards in his first eight games with four 100-yard performances after not being named a starter in the preseason. Yet this Bengals-Cardinals game figures to be decided by the quarterbacks. Arizona's Carson Palmer threw for 2,386 yards and 20 touchdowns in his team's first eight games, while Cincinnati's Andy Dalton had 2,226 yards passing and 18 touchdowns through his first eight games.


Cincinnati leads the all-time Bengals-Cardinals series, 6-4, but Arizona has won two of the past three meetings. Cincinnati has never won in Arizona … nor was Cincinnati able to win a Bengals-Cardinals game at St. Louis when the Cardinals franchise was located there.