Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns 0-12 SU, 4-10 ATS)
NFL Week 14
December 11th 2016 /Time: 1 PM EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland OH Jacksonville, FL
by Jason Green, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bengals -5.5
Over/Under Total: 43
Time is running out for the Browns to avoid a winless season. The big news for them in this game is that Robert Griffin III will get the starting nod. He was knocked to IR in Week 1 and the QB play for the Browns has been less than stellar this season to say the least. The Browns rank 2nd to last in the league in ppg and not only that, but they also rank 31st in opponents’ ppg. No wonder they are winless.
The Bengals are hanging by a thread and that thread is oh so small. They are at 4-7-1, but they do play in the AFC North were the Steelers and Ravens are only 7-5. Cincy needs to win out and get lost of help and if they do not Andy Dalton will be watching the playoffs for the first time in his career.
The Bengals are coming off a solid 32-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in their last game, which snapped their 3-game losing streak. Dalton does rank 4th in the league in passing yards per game, but he does not have the injured A.J. Green and that is a big loss. Still, Dalton passed for over 330 yards with 2 TD and 0 INT in the win over the Eagles and Cincy played good D even though they only rushed for 80 yards.
One thing the Browns have going for them is that they are coming off a bye. In their last game they lost to the New York Giants 27-13 where they had more overall yards than the G-Men, but they also had 3 turnovers. Griffin has Terrelle Pryor, but can his O-line give him time to find him? He will be facing a Cincy pass defense that ranks 16th in the league and allowed Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz to pass for over 300 yards in the last game.
Cleveland RB’s Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. have shown some flashes this season, but in the Browns last game neither of these guys averaged over 3 yards per carry. They have to run the ball well in this game to take some pressure off the injury prone Griffin.
Earlier this season in Cincinnati the Bengals beat the Browns badly 31-17. In that game Dalton passed for over 300 yards with 2 TD and 0 INT and RB Jeremy Hill rushed for 168 yards. These are the 2 guys the Cleveland defense has to key on.
Overall, this season the Cleveland defense ranks 21st defending the pass and 2nd to last in the NFL defending the run.
While the Bengals have covered the spread in their last 4 games facing the Browns the underdog is 13-5 ATS in the last 18 games between these division rivals. Still, in looking at the betting trends something has got to give in this game. The reason? Well, the Browns are only 1-10 ATS in their last 11 home games and the Browns are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games.
You know I am a believer and I think RG3 will have a good game. The Browns will get a lift from him on the field and they really need that. Cleveland is in the midst of the longest losing streak in their history, but it will end this Sunday at home. RG3 will play well, the Browns defense will not get torched, and they will not make a ton of mistakes. Cleveland will not only cover in this game, but get the W as well avoiding a winless season in the process. On top of that with their win the Bengals can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Browns +5.5
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