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Bengals’ window closes

A window of opportunity stays open for only so long in the NFL. In no time at all, it has slammed shut on the Cincinnati Bengals, smashing the fingers of quarterback Carson Palmer and silencing the mouth of wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco.

The outlook for Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is not bright, either.

Cincinnati is a 131/2-point road underdog to the New York Giants today, providing more evidence the Bengals are a long way from being AFC contenders.

The Gold Sheet handicapper Bruce Marshall recommends laying the points with the Giants, who have covered eight games in a row and 10 of 11.

The Giants moved to 2-0 last week as Eli Manning passed for 260 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-13 victory at St. Louis. The Bengals are 0-2 after ugly performances against Baltimore and Tennessee.

“The downtrodden Bengals already let a rookie QB, the Ravens’ Joe Flacco, and a journeyman, the Titans’ Kerry Collins, beat them,” Marshall said. “Now they are faced with the supremely confident Super Bowl-winning Manning, who is off a near-flawless effort.”

Cincinnati is averaging 8.5 points per game. Palmer has no touchdown passes, three interceptions and a 37.1 rating.

The Giants are 9-3 under the total in their past 12 home games.

Marshall (goldsheet.com) outlines more key trends in today’s games:

Arizona at Washington: The Cardinals are 23-7-1 over the total in their past 31 road games. Edge: Over.

Carolina at Minnesota: The Panthers are 26-11-2 as underdogs for coach John Fox since late 2002. The Vikings are 7-2 over the total in their past nine at the Metrodome. Edge: Panthers and over.

Detroit at San Francisco: The Lions have gone 4-13 against the spread on the road since 2006. Detroit is 14-4 over the total in its past 18 on the road. Edge: 49ers and over.

New Orleans at Denver: Both teams routinely go over the total — the Saints are 15-6 over in their past 21, and the Broncos are 18-5 over in their past 23. Denver is 12-5 over the total in its past 17 at home. Edge: Over.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis: The Colts have won five of the past six meetings, but they are 2-3-1 ATS in those games. The Jaguars are 10-2 over the total in their past 12 on the road. Edge: Over.


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