KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Solomon Wilcots)
SERIES: 23rd regular-season meeting: The Colts have won five in a row against the Bengals to take a 14-8 series lead. The Colts have had most of their success as the road team, with an 8-2 record in Cincinnati (2-1 as Baltimore Colts and 6-1 as Indianapolis Colts). As the home team, the Colts are 4-3 against the Bengals in Indianapolis and were 3-3 against Cincinnati in Baltimore. The Bengals have lost their last four at Indianapolis after winning three in a row. The most recent meeting was a 34-16 Colts win at Indianapolis in 2006. The last Bengals win in the series was a 28-13 decision at Indianapolis in 1997.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Bengals average just 3.4 yards per carry, but getting production from RB Cedric Benson is critical on several fronts. First, Cincinnati has to find a way to sustain drives to help protect its injury-ravaged defense. Second, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will take a beating if forced to drop back against the Colts' pass rushers. Indianapolis' big weakness is stopping physical running games - and the Bengals need to do their best to pull one out of the hat.
EFFICIENT STANDARD: The Colts lead the NFL with a 67.7 touchdown percentage on their 34 trips inside the red zone, and the Bengals could be hard-pressed to reverse that trend. While Indianapolis has four receivers with at least 47 receptions, Cincinnati's secondary is thinned with CB Johnathan Joseph out for the season. If RB Joseph Addai has some early success, QB Peyton Manning should be able to move the ball at will through the air because Cincinnati has just 13 sacks.
KEY INJURIES: Bengals: LT Levi Jones (hamstring) is uncertain; DE Antwan Odom (shoulder) is not expected to play; QB Carson Palmer (elbow) plans to start a throwing program Saturday. Colts: LB Gary Brackett (cracked/broken fibula) is out; SS Bob Sanders (knee) could return this week; C Jeff Saturday (calf) is likely out.
NEED TO KNOW: The Bengals are 0-6 on the road this season, losing by an average of 12.8 points. ... The Colts face the Bengals and Lions — a combined 1-21-1 — at home the next two games.
PREDICTION: Colts 31-21