Cleveland Browns (0-6 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS)
NFL Week 7
October 23rd 2016 /Time: 1 PM EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium Cincinnati, OH
by Jason Green, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bengals -9.5
Over/Under Total: 46.5
While it is no surprise that the Browns are winless it is pretty surprising the Bengals are 2 games under .500. Nobody expected much from Cleveland this season and they are the last team in the NFL without a win. That is not that much of a shock, as they have used 3 starting QBs already and they have been weak on both sides of the ball, especially on D where they rank 29th in the league. Oh yeah, one more surprise is that the Browns are not double-digit underdog on the road only getting 9.5 points from the Bengals.
Last Sunday the Browns stayed in the winless column with a 28-26 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Bengals lost their 2nd in a row falling 35-17 to the New England Patriots.
Cincy QB Andy Dalton cant be blamed for his teams shortcomings, as he has put together a legit season so far and he not only has the 3rd most passing yards in the league, but he has not thrown an INT in the last 3 games. He does have one of the best WR;s in the league in A.J. Green, but he has not gotten much more help. The rushing offense has struggled as of late and only had a grand total of 79 yards on the ground in the loss to the Pats. Also, the defense has not really pitched in only ranking 19th in defending the pass and 22nd defending the run.
If you look hard you can find a couple of positive things for the Browns. First in the loss to Tennessee QB Cody Kessler had a big game passing for 336 yards with a couple of TDs and no INT. Also, former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor has fashioned himself as a good WR leading Cleveland in receptions and receiving yards.
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The Browns need to run the ball in this AFC North match up, as they cant count on rookie Kessler to shoulder the whole offensive load. In 2 of 3 games Cleveland RB Isaiah Crowell rushed for 120 yards, but since has rushed for only 38 yards in the last 2 games. I mean Kessler was lights out in the loss to the Titans and the Browns only lost by 2 even though they only had 40 yards on the ground.
Like the Browns the Bengals run game has been less than stellar. Jeremy Hill leads Cincy is yards on the ground with only 276 and he and 2nd leading rusher Giovani Bernard have failed to even average over 3.7 yards per carry for the season. However, they may be able to pad their stats in this division contest facing a Cleveland run D that only ranks 27th in the league.
While the Browns are 3-0 SU and ATS in their last 3 games facing the Browns Cleveland is 4-3-1 ATS in their last 8 games facing them in Cincy.
Clevelands defense is the main issue of the team and they are up against a struggling Bengals offense that has not scored over 17 points in 4 of 5 games. Are the Bengals better than a 2-win team? I would say yes, as their last 2 games, which were both losses, were on the road facing the Cowboys and Patriots, who are both 5-1. In their 4 losses all teams are currently over .500.
The Browns covered the spread in their loss to the Titans last week, but they are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after covering. On top of that they have failed to cover in their last 6 division games. The Bengals have covered the spread in 4 of their last 5 games facing a team with a losing record.
I look for Dalton to have a strong game with the expected return of their star TE Tyler Eifert. Cincy will put a stop to their 2-game skid and send the Browns to their 7th loss of the season and I feel the margin will hit double digits covering the hefty spread.
Jasons Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Bengals -9.5
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