Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Cleveland Browns (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: 1:00 PM ET, September 16, 2012
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
by Jason Green, Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: Cle +7/Cin -7
Over/Under Total: 38.5

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The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns both lost in their season openers, but while the Bengals were schooled getting crushed by the Ravens the Browns, at least, played somewhat decent defense in a 1-point loss to the Eagles. Cincinnati made the playoffs last season, but they did not beat one team that made the post-season. They will be facing a Browns’ team that has MAJOR issues on offense and whose 2 first round picks on that side of the ball struggled in Week 1.

Last week in their season openers the Bengals did not look good on both sides of the ball losing to the Baltimore Ravens 44-13 and the Browns lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 17-16.

The Browns used their first round picks on RB Trent Richardson and QB Brandon Weeden and both were thrust in the starting lineup right away. However, each did not play well against the Eagles, as Weeden was 12/35 for 118 yards and 4 INT and Richardson rushed for 39 yards averaging a less than stellar 2.1 yards per carry. While these 2 will not have great games they will not stink it up again facing a Bengals’ defense that gave up 308 passing yards and 122 rushing yards in the loss to the Ravens.

This week Browns head coach Pat Shurmur thinks Weeden will have a better game this week and that will not be hard to do since he had a passer rating of 5.1 and a completion percentage of 34%. However, it does not help that the Browns have the weakest WR corps in the NFL.

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Every 2nd year QB wants to avoid the sophomore slump, but Andy Dalton has not done that so far early in the season. He did pass for 221 yards in the loss to Baltimore, but he did not throw a TD, was picked off, and was sacked 4 times. I think he will bounce back in this game, as even though the Browns picked off Michael Vick last week 4 times they still gave up over 315 passing yards. On top of that Cleveland will be without star CB Joe Haden, who begins a 4-game suspension for violating league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

If there was one bright spot for the Bengals in Week 1 it has to be the play of free agent addition RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who rushed for 91 yards on a legit 5.1 yards per carry average. He did not get more touches since Cincy had to air it out in a comeback attempt, but look for that to change in this game and he will have his first 100+ yard game in a Bengals’ uniform.

While Haden will be out for this game LB Scott Fujita will play after being reinstated from the his suspension from Bountygate, He and fellow LB D’Qwell Jackson, who had a INT for a TD last week, must play well up front both against the pass and the run.

The Bengals have had the Browns’ number in the last several seasons, as they have won 3 straight against them and 7 of their last 8 facing them at home. However, while wins are one thing covering the spread is another. The underdog is 9-1 in their last 10 games between these 2 teams, which has been mostly the Browns, and the Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games while the Bengals are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.

Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Cleveland actually had a pretty good showing last week at home vs. the Eagles. Or did they? I think the Eagles themselves will tell you that they were the reason they didn’t blow Cleveland out. I’m surprised that this line isn’t more. I love the Bengals to beat a Browns team that they flat out outclass.

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