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Week 14 Predictions: All Bengals Staff Gives Picks for Sunday's Game Against the 49ers

Cincinnati is hoping to keep pace in the AFC playoff race.

CINCINNATI — The Bengals were banged up for most of the week, but are relatively healthy going into Sunday's game against the 49ers. 

Both teams are in the hunt and need a win to keep pace in the playoff race. 

The All Bengals team made our predictions for Sunday's matchup. Check them out below!

Elise Jesse, All Bengals Insider

Season Record: 4-8

This game is another must win for the Cincinnati Bengals. Two straight losses at home in December is hard to overcome. I believe this will be one of the toughest games for Cincinnati defensively, especially if Kyle Shanahan gets George Kittle involved much as he did last week against the Seattle Seahawks (nine catches, 181 yards and two touchdowns). While I’m not as concerned with their rushing attack this week knowing their leading rusher, Elijah Mitchell is working through concussion protocol, I still think it is a tough week to be without Logan Wilson (shoulder), who usually makes the calls on defense. 

They’re going to have to get creative and execute with precision if they plan on keeping the 49ers out of the end zone. The Bengals had one of their sloppiest games of the season last week against the Chargers, and while I do hope NFL Network's Kay Adams brings good karma with her on Sunday, I’m not sure a week is a sufficient amount of time to fix all of the problems they had. The 49ers win in a close one.

Prediction: 49ers 24, Bengals 21

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Russ Heltman, All Bengals Contributor

Season Record: 4-8

Two banged-up teams matchup at Paul Brown Stadium this weekend. San Francisco and Cincinnati are both dealing with injuries like nearly every other NFL team this time of year.

Cincinnati is a little less injured and is got healthier throughout the week. That will give them the edge in this battle on Sunday. It's difficult to project who will end up playing mid-week (i.e. Riley Reiff and Trey Hopkins getting scratched against LA), but with Trae Waynes, Reiff, and Hopkins returning to practice—the Bengals should have enough horses to topple San Francisco.

Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell, and Joe Bachie are huge factors in this game. According to Football Outsiders, Cincinnati's passing DVOA allowed in the middle of the field ranks 29th this season. Jimmy Garoppolo lives in that area using his rapport with Kittle. Stopping those throws could decide this game.

Prediction: Bengals 27, 49ers 26

Nicole Zembrodt, All Bengals Contributor

Season Record: 6-6

Both teams have been inconsistent this season and are coming off losses, but they're both in the thick of the playoff hunt. 

This game will come down to health and turnovers. The absences of Riley Reiff and Trey Hopkins last week greatly impacted Cincinnati's offense. Although Joe Burrow threw for 300 yards with a mangled pinky, Joe Mixon had 19 rushes for 54 yards against the league's worst rushing defense. Not having Wilson is a significant loss in a depleted linebacker room. The 49ers are a run-first team and Kittle is Garoppolo's favorite target. Germaine Pratt has had an underrated season. He will need to step up in Wilson's place and expect three-safety looks throughout the game on passing downs.

Cincinnati is -2 (17 takeaways, 19 giveaways) in the turnover column this season, but the 49ers (14, 18) are -4. Which defense is going to come up with the game-changing turnover?

This game will be close. However, all but one (Rams) of San Francisco's wins have come against teams under .500. The Bengals survive and continue their playoff push.

Prediction: Bengals 24, 49ers 23

Blake Jewell, All Bengals Contributor

Season Record: 6-6

This game is a toss up for me. The Bengals have been very unpredictable this season, and while I think they should win this game, they’ll likely struggle to contain Kittle, especially without Wilson. The key to beating the 49ers offensively is to control the ball and not turn it over. A big piece of that is Mixon, who missed practice with an illness. They need to get the ground game going if they're going to win the game.

Prediction: 49ers 31, Bengals 24

Mike Santagata, All Bengals Film Analyst

Season Record: 5-7

The 49ers come to Paul Brown Stadium off of a tough loss. That matches the Bengals who had a tough loss of their own. The NFL flexed this game to the late afternoon slot which takes away the advantage of playing a California team at 1:00. So this will be a pretty even playing field for the two teams.

San Francisco bring a strong run game and much like Cleveland they can run everything under the sun. This presents an issue for the Bengals who seem to do better against teams that major in one specific run. To go with the run game they have the best offensive tackle in football in Trent Williams on the left. Next to him is a talented player in his own right in Laken Tomlinson. Those two have been absolutely mailing defenses this season. Add in George Kittle and the Bengals certainly have their hands full when it comes to defending that run game.

For the Bengals to win this game they should try to turn it into a shootout. A physical, low scoring slugfest favors San Francisco in this game, but a high flying shootout favors Cincinnati. The 49ers cornerbacks have been suspect this season. This plays into the Bengals hands who have a very talented receiver core.

Ultimately, I think Shanahan is able to play ball control and run on the Bengals defense. I think the Bengals run defense is good, but when another team can run power and counter effectively the Bengals struggle (see Cleveland).

Prediction: 49ers 31, Bengals 21

Lindsay Patterson, All Bengals Reporter

Season Record: 2-2

The team beating the Bengals the most has been the Bengals—unforced errors and mistakes continue to hurt them, but having Burrow will forever keep them in the game. He does need to cut back on the interceptions, especially in the red zone. 

At this moment it feels like winning the division will be the best way to get into the playoffs and all of that is possible. 

I don't know how confident I am in the club being able to stop Kittle, who's one of the best tight ends in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, Burrow is dealing with a pinkie injury and while he's expected to be fine, it's worth keeping an eye on in Sunday's game.

If the Bengals can get out of their own way I think they will take care of business, but the injury bug is catching up with them. I still think the Bengals are built for the playoffs, but lose on Sunday.

Prediction: 49ers 28, Bengals 21

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James Rapien, All Bengals Publisher

Season Record: 5-7

There are plenty of questions on offense and defense going into Sunday's game. 

Can the Bengals stop the 49ers' rushing attack and put pressure on Garoppolo? Will Jessie Bates rise to the occasion and make a game changing play or two with Wilson out? 

Burrow looked good this week in practice, but if Nick Bosa hits his pinkie finger, will the injury start to bother him? 

At some point Ja'Marr Chase is going to start making big plays, the Bengals are getting most of their guys back and this is a winnable game, but Shanahan and the 49ers squeak out a close one. 

If Cincinnati wants to win, they have to score 30 or more points. They come up short on Sunday. 

Prediction: 49ers 30, Bengals 27

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