The Cincinnati Bengals seem poised to make a deep playoff run this year, having earned home wins over the Packers and Patriots and road victories against the Lions and Chargers. But while today’s 1:00 pm showdown with the Vikings seems a mere encounter with their next victim, the Bengals can’t overlook it. Cincinnati needs to get back on track after last Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, but the Vikings have a new reputation as post-season spoiler following their win over the Eagles last week. The stage is set for a physical AFC North-style game, which you can watch Vikings vs Bengals online free live using the links below.
Although the Bengals will surely make the playoffs, just how far they go will fall largely into the hands of quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton has had one of the better seasons for NFL quarterbacks this year, having completed 61% of his passes on the way to 3,649 yards and 27 touchdowns. In fact he was so impressive a couple of months ago that he earned the AFC’s offensive player of the month award for October. Against the Vikings 31st-ranked defense, which is giving up 291 yards per game in the air, Dalton should light it up.
The Bengals don’t exactly have a lock-down pass defense either, giving up almost 220 yards per game, which should bode well for Vikings QB Matt Cassel. When you watch Vikings vs Bengals online free live you’ll see Cassel taking his latest turn on the Vikings’ season-long QB carousel. So far, the experiment has worked.
Since watching Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman lose their starting QB jobs, the 31-year-old Cassel has stabilized the Vikings offense and led Minnesota to win two of its past three games. With Adrian Peterson hobbling, though, Cassel will need to be near flawless against Cincinnati’s banged-up secondary for the 4-9-1 Vikings to beat the 9-5 Bengals.
One key reason is that the Bengals game today is at Paul Brown Stadium, where Cincinnati is 6-0 this season. Coming off a loss with something to prove, in an environment where the Bengals defense has played well this season, the Vikings could struggle today even if Adrian Peterson does play. The loss of linebacker James Harrison with a concussion leaves a hole in the Bengals’ run defense, while the season-ending broken jaw of Bengals punter Kevin Huber will be a blow to Cincy’s special teams. Those dynamics though are one reason today’s Vikings vs Bengals game could be close.
The Vikings are playing with a bit more confidence, but the Bengals have more to lose. Perhaps more importantly, the Bengals also have a statement to make after last week’s Sunday Night debacle. You can watch Vikings vs Bengals online free live on DirecTV’s website if you subscribe to that cable provider’s NFL Sunday Ticket and have the MAX package add-on. The package comes with an additional subscription fee, but if you pay it you’ll be able to watch the live streaming version free of any NFL game, including today’s 1:00pm EST / 10:00am PST Week 16 NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals.