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Broncos-Bengals odds: Denver are 3.5-point favorites; Cincinnati playing for playoff lives

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Monday Night Football this weekend pits an 11-win team against a nine-win team with massive AFC playoff implications.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are between three and 3.5-point favorites on the road in Monday Night Football as they'll travel to Paul Brown Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals.

The line doesn't come as too big a surprise; the Broncos have become road warriors of late, winning four in a row (two on the road) and claiming 12 straight road division wins over the past three years en route to their fourth consecutive division title.  Their last road game, a 22-10 whooping of the rival San Diego Chargers, saw the Broncos boast a tenacious defense and a disciplined running game.

In other words, playoff football.

That's the type of football the Bengals are hoping to play, literally and figuratively, as they pursue a playoff spot. The short of it: the Bengals could be in the tournament before kickoff Monday if the Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Buffalo Bills each lose Sunday in Week 16.

But even if they clinch a playoff spot, they're still playing for the division. The Bengals can barely afford to lose their game against the Broncos with both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens nipping at their heels.

The good news, as MHR's Scotty Payne pointed out to me, is that the Broncos have been playing plenty of teams with their playoff lives on the line - four in a row, in fact. And they've won four in a row.

I guess that three-point spread makes sense. What do you think?