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Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns Pick.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, October 4, 2009, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio. TV: CBS
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bengals -5.5/Browns +5.5
This may be difficult to comprehend for many NFL fans, but the Cincinnati Bengals are looking like a playoff team. At 2-1 with wins over the Packers and Steelers, and a fluke last second touchdown away from being 3-0, the Bengals have proved that they are serious this year. The Browns, on the other hand, should not be taken seriously. At 0-3 with none of their losses coming within 14 points, the team has issues. To add insult to injury, they once again have a quarterback controversy. And it’s not the good kind of quarterback controversy where the solid veteran is competing with the promising young talent. It’s the bad kind where the young stud Brady Quinn is looking like a bust and the solid veteran Derek Anderson is no longer considered solid.
The big question is: Who will be the Browns QB on Sunday? The answer is either Anderson or Quinn. Anderson was great a couple years ago, but wasn’t so hot last season. Quinn was handed the reins in the preseason and has struggled severely in his first three games this year. Quinn has thrown for 400 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, and been sacked 10 times. Anderson replaced Quinn in the second half of the Browns’ 34-3 loss to the Ravens on Sunday and he threw three interceptions. Despite the poor performance against Baltimore, it is likely that Anderson will be starting against the Bengals.
The quarterback position is not the only problem for the Browns. Running back Jamal Lewis, who totaled 95 yards in the first two games, missed the last game with a hamstring injury. Jerome Harrison replaced Lewis against the Ravens and rushed for 52 yards.
The Browns have been terrible against the run this season. They have allowed 184.3 rushing yards per game, the third highest total in the league. They have forced just one turnover in the three games, a forced fumble against the Ravens.
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The Bengals struggled to score against the Broncos in Week 1, but they had a chance to win the game with a 7-6 lead in the final minute. But a Kyle Orton pass was deflected into the hands of Brandon Stokley, who ran into the end zone with 11 seconds left. If it weren’t for that, Cincy would be undefeated right now.
Bengals running back Cedric Benson controlled the game against the Packers, running for 141 yards. A Carson Palmer pass to Chad Ochocinco in the third quarter proved to be the difference, as the Bengals defense allowed just a field goal in the second half.
The game could have been a fluke, but the Bengals proved it wasn’t with a come-from-behind win over the Steelers. Down 20-9 in the fourth quarter, Benson ran for a 23-yard touchdown. Then, Palmer drove the Bengals down the field 71 yards and found Andre Caldwell for the game-winning score with 14 seconds left.
Palmer really hasn’t been the key for the Bengals thus far. He only reached 200 passing yards in the loss to the Bengals, and he has just as many interceptions (4) as touchdowns. The difference for the Bengals has been a solid running game and defense. Benson has 293 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals defense is tied for the most sacks in the league with 10, led by Antwan Odom’s seven sacks, which leads the NFL.
The Bengals finished last season strong with three straight wins, so they have now won five of their last six games. They are also 5-1 ATS in those games. Four of Cleveland’s last five games, dating back to last season, have gone under.
Ryno’s Pick: The Bengals are looking like a playoff team, while the Browns are looking like a team that could go winless. There are many uncertainties for the Browns, including a QB issue and an injured RB. Benson has been very steady for the Bengals thus far and it’s been against three of the best defenses in the league. The Browns have a terrible rush defense, so Benson should have his way. With Benson running wild, Palmer should be able to pick apart the Browns defense. The Browns have allowed 11 sacks and the Bengals have 10 sacks, so expect whichever QB is under center for Cleveland to face lots of pressure. Take the Bengals -5.5.