Two playoff contenders coming off a loss will meet in an interconference showdown in Cincinnati on Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers are 6-6 on the year, which is good for the number seven spot in the NFC playoff race.
An upset loss to the Seahawks put them at risk of slipping out of that final spot, however. The Bengals are clinging to the final spot in the AFC after a loss to the Chargers. Keep reading to check the NFL odds and cash out at the top-rated sportsbooks.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, December 12, 2021 – 04:25 PM EST at Paul Brown Stadium
The 49ers entered Sunday’s game on a three-game winning streak and with a game against the then 3-8 Seahawks up next. Instead of padding their playoff resume, however, San Francisco played an error-filled game and fumbled away an upset loss. The Niners saw Seattle score on a fake punt, then fumbled the second-half kickoff.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also threw a pair of interceptions to give the Seahawks life. The Niners also committed two roughing the passer penalties to keep a Seattle touchdown drive moving. Despite all that, the 49ers still had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but two shots into the end zone by Garoppolo were defended.
One big problem that San Francisco faced against Seattle could linger into this week’s game. Cornerback Emmanuel Mosley went down with an ankle injury and didn’t return to the game. His replacement, rookie Deommodore Lenoir, was targeted repeatedly by the Seahawks in the first half, giving up a touchdown, a long gain, and committing a pass interference penalty before getting benched.
On offense, the Niners were without their top producer in Deebo Samuel, who missed the game with a groin injury. San Francisco will be waiting on the status of both Mosley and Samuel heading into the Cincinnati game. The Niners have three teams within a game of them for the final playoff spot and a challenging road schedule. After Cincinnati, San Francisco has games at Tennessee and the Rams, along with two winnable home games.
The Bengals entered Sunday with a chance to tie Baltimore for first place in the AFC North, but sloppy play led to a lopsided loss to the Chargers. Cincinnati is now a game out in the division and holding on to the seventh and final playoff spot. The Bengals also face a tough schedule, with every remaining opponent at .500 or better.
Making matters worse, quarterback Joe Burrow isn’t at 100 percent. While scoring a rushing touchdown late in the first half, he suffered an injury to the pinky finger on his right (throwing) hand. The finger appeared to be pointed in the wrong direction and possibly dislocated. They taped it up on the sideline, but he clearly was in pain while gripping and trying to throw the ball.
Burrow finished the game and threw for 300 yards. He declared that he’s not missing time because of the injury, but clearly, it impacted his performance on Sunday. “It’s just something I’m going to have to deal with,” he said. “I’m not going to miss any games because of it. That’s not something that’s going to happen.”
Both teams will need to iron out the flaws that showed up in Sunday’s action, as well as play through some key injuries. For your NFL pick, look for San Francisco to lean on George Kittle if Samuel is still slowed by injury. Burrow’s finger trouble could throw a wrench into Cincinnati’s productive offense, and the Bengals will have more trouble than the Niners in finding a plan b.
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