Bengals vs. Eagles 2012 game preview: Philadelphia set to host Thursday Night Football

Andy Lyons

The 2012 season hasn't gone as hoped for the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Cincinnati Bengals will still be fighting for their playoff lives on Thursday night.

The Philadelphia Eagles entered the season with high aspirations, but now find themselves playing the role of spoiler. After essentially knocking Tampa Bay out of playoff contention last week, the Eagles will attempt to play the role of spoiler once again on Thursday.

Cincinnati is currently just outside of the playoff picture, but could temporarily overtake Pittsburgh for the No. 6 seed in the AFC with a win on Thursday. The Bengals are coming off a tough 20-19 loss and with games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore looming, Thursday's game will be key for Cincinnati's playoff chances.

Meet the Eagles

The Eagles snapped an eight-game losing streak last week, but are still riddled in controversy and uncertainty. Andy Reid is still the head coach, but his future with the team remains in doubt. Reid's job security has come into question as the Eagles dropped from Super Bowl contender at 3-1 to one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL at 4-9.

Philadelphia's offense will once again have a much different look than it did at the beginning of the season. Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy remain out with concussions so once again Philadelphia will turn to rookies Nick Foles and Bryce Brown. Foles had the best game of his career last week, throwing for 381 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles' win against Tampa Bay.

Meet the Bengals

Leading by nine with less than seven minutes to play against the Cowboys, Cincinnati appeared to be in position to take a major step towards the playoffs. After Dallas came back to stun the Bengals, 20-19, Cincinnati now finds itself in a must-win situation.

The Bengals are currently tied with the Steelers for the final AFC wild card spot. Cincinnati will travel to Pittsburgh next week, but could find their playoff chances on life support with a loss on Thursday. If Cincinnati loses to Philadelphia, it would need to go on the road and defeat Pittsburgh then likely also need a win against Baltimore at home in the regular season finale.

Local Takes: Eagles

Eagles fans have turned their attention to young players getting a chance to play and Bleeding Green Nation took a closer look at tight end Clay Harbor, who will make his first start on Thursday.

Harbor made the most of his increased snaps last week catching 6 passes for 52 yards and a TD. Of course that was against the awful Bucs pass defense, but it was still an encouraging performance. And really, at this point, isn't that all we're looking for? Younger guys getting extra snaps and showing something?

Local Takes: Bengals

The Bengals rotated centers against Dallas but Joe Goodberry of Cincy Jungle took a look at who should play going forward.

When the numbers end up being close without providing a clear-cut winner, you must trust what your eyes tell you. I see Robinson as an athletic upgrade; he's smoother, quicker, and more flexible than Cook. What I like about Cook is his toughness, fight and veteran tricks that help him win.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Bleeding Green Nation and Cincy Jungle, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@BleedingGreen

@CincyJungle

@joereedy

@Jeff_McLane

Prediction

From the Week 15 picks:

Andrew Sharp was right: Thursday Night Football is awful. So are the Eagles. A.J. Green, however, is not.

The pick: 17-13, Bengals

Odds

The Bengals opened as a 3 1/2-point favorite and are as high as a 5-point favorite in some places, according to Odds Shark.

Next Week

The Eagles will play their final home game of the season next week, hosting the Washington Redskins.

Cincinnati will go on the road for a pivotal game against Pittsburgh. The winner will have the inside track to the final wild card slot in the AFC.

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