Monday Night Football tonight is the crown jewel of the Week 17 slate. With two legit AFC contenders facing off, we can expect some legitimate fireworks to finish off the week. Who is playing, what time does the game start, how can you watch it, and what are the current odds?
Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) vs. Buffalo Bills (12-3)
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
Monday Night Football tonight will showcase two of the best teams in the NFL when the Buffalo Bills travel to Paul Brown Stadium to take on the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bills currently have the top spot in the AFC with a record of 12-3, but the Bengals are not far behind at 11-4. Both teams are chasing the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but a slip-up in Week 18 could be huge for the winner of this one.
Let’s start by looking at the visiting team in this one. The Bills are good. Yes, they have been a bit streaky this year, but statistically, they’re one of the best teams in the NFL. Buffalo has the fourth-best scoring offense in the league and are balanced both on the ground and in the air, ranking seventh in both categories.
MORE: Bills vs. Bengals Prediction, Odds, and Picks for Week 17
But it isn’t just offensively that this team excels. The Bills also have the second-best scoring defense in the NFL, allowing only an average of 17 points per game. Granted, winter weather has helped those numbers in the past few weeks. Regardless, Josh Allen has this team humming, and they’re now in striking distance of a first-round bye in the playoffs.
When it comes to the Bengals, well, they’re getting hot at the right time. After a very slow start to the year, questions started to surround this team and its terrible offensive line play. Joe Burrow did not look good, and there were legitimate fears of a Super Bowl hangover in Cincinnati.
Nevertheless, like clockwork, the Bengals’ offense started to shake off the rust and haven’t looked back since. They have the league’s sixth-best offense thanks to their unbelievable passing attack behind Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.
On the defensive side of the ball, Cincinnati is ninth in scoring defense. The Bengals are great against the run (seventh), but they’ve struggled against the pass (21st), which is not something you want to hear when going up against Allen and this offense.
PFN’s Betting Director BJ Rudell broke down this game in his Week 17 picks and predictions. Although the Bengals are at home, he has little faith that they can compete against this highly efficient Bills defense.
“I’ve continued to hope the point spread would move. But then again, it wouldn’t matter unless Cincy was favored by three or more.
In what might be a preview of a rematch during the playoffs, these two teams are evenly matched on offense. The key differences are Buffalo’s higher-upside defense and the highly mobile Josh Allen.”
Date: Jan. 2, 2023
Start time: 8:15 p.m. ET
With Monday Night Football tonight being on ESPN, the announcers you can expect to hear are Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Lisa Salters on the call.
TV Channel and Live Stream for Monday Night Football
TV channels: ESPN
Live stream: DirecTV, Hulu + Live TV
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