A Thrilling Matchup of Ohio Rivals
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of 10/31.
Your crack team of streaky handicappers is here to provide you with another smoking hot take on an AFC North rivalry with a plethora of spooky story lines. Do the Browns hate playing defense? Will Joey B dodge defenders all night? Would anyone rather watch the World Series? We’re here to scratch your itch, quell your sickness, and answer all your questions in our expert preview of the Cincinatti Bengals (4-3) at the Cleveland Browns (2-5). Let’s roll.
Cincinatti Bengals at Cleveland Browns (+3) (0/u 45)
Kickoff: 8:15 pm EST on ESPN
Jack: I’m clocking in above .500 for yet another week with a 3-2 record yesterday. Handicappers have tendencies and mine go like this: (1) look at advanced metrics to sound smart; (2) pick a team that has a strong identity; (4) research more metrics that support my previously held belief that the team with the strong identity is good; (C) pick said team; (12) watch said team fail to cover on Sunday: (F) complain.
One of my darling teams for the 2022 season has been the Cleveland Browns. I don’t know why. They’re 2-5. They don’t do particularly well against the spread. The secondary is the worst coached unit in the league, rivaling only Atlanta in blown coverages. This looks like a rout.
Atlanta is a very good analog to Cleveland. Both teams seek to control the clock with a highly efficient running game. The quarterbacks heading each squad are likeable rentals who everyone seems to root for, although nobody knows why. The secondaries are an unmitigated hellscape of blown coverages. We saw what the Bengals did to the Falcons. It should be a similar outcome tonight, right?
Wrong! The Browns are playing much better defense than the Falcons and this is a bitter rivalry game. Don’t be afraid of Cleveland’s record either. They had a few winnable games this year so far that they let go at the end. The Bengals are trending upward, but I think the Browns keep this game close enough to make it interesting. I’ll take the three. Pick: Browns +3.
Go With Your Head, Not Your Heart
Nate: Jack’s analysis is absolutely correct, but his pick is stupid.
The Browns profile is really similar to the Falcons, who the Bengals torched last week. The Browns run the ball pretty well and cannot get stops on defense, which is essentially the same as Atlanta.
The Bengals have moved away from the run-heavy schemes early in the season that had them at 0-2 and have since been playing every bit like a team that contended in a Super Bowl a year ago.
The Browns defense is not good, and I expect Burrow to have a field day against another porous secondary. Pick: Bengals -3.
Brownies Fright Night
John: Jack loves the Brownies. Typical millennial. He’s blinded by his hatred of LSU. Hey Jack, Ole Miss lost. Get over it!
The Bengals are hotter than my morning coffee while Cleveland looks like spoiled milk. I’m going as Jacoby Brissett for Halloween. That should scare the entire city of Cleveland.
Bengals get Snickers. Brownies are stuck with the pencils their weird neighbor hands out as she waxes on about cavities. Too bad. Pick: Bengals -3.