It’s the Battle of Ohio in Week 4 NFL action as the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Cleveland to take on a Browns team already looking forward to the 2014 NFL Draft. After surprisingly trading Trent Richardson to the Colts, Cleveland went out and posted a surprising victory over the Minnesota Vikings last week, and it’s tough to place your finger and how they’ll respond for the remainder of the season. Their opponents this week however hold a clear objective. They have the team capable of winning the AFC North and then doing damage once they get there. The Bengals are riddled with talent and resiliency, and if their huge victory last week against Green Bay proved anything, it’s that they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. These rivalry, inter-division affairs are always exciting, and read on below for further game thoughts and our official selection.
Bengals at Browns Betting Odds:
Cincinnati Bengals -3.5 (-115)
@ Cleveland Browns +3.5 (-105)
Over 43 (-110)
Under 43 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals at Browns Pick:
To be perfectly honest, I was fairly stunned upon the release of this line. The Browns, despite last week’s heroic outing against the Vikings, seem poised to trade away any and all key talent and accumulate draft picks for the future. They are essentially just waiting for next April’s draft. On the other hand you have a Bengals team fresh off a massive victory against the Packers, and primed for big things in 2013, and yet the line is hovering around 3? Not sure I get this one, and though it could be a trap the Bengals are the kind of team I’m willing to take the risk on. Cincinnati is a no-nonsense group that should not experience a letdown with Marvin Lewis on the sidelines. Andy Dalton keeps getting better and better every week, and their defense will always keep their team in the game.
Brian Hoyer had a solid game for the Browns last week upon replacing Brandon Weeden, but going against the Bengals defense will be something else. The Bengals have looked amazing this year, and when you consider they have gone up against Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Jay Cutler, the fact that their passing defense remains elite is remarkably impressive. Cincinnati’s front-seven will pressure Hoyer with regularity, and all the good feelings left over from last week’s outing will quickly be wiped away in the first quarter.
These games are traditionally very tight affairs, perhaps explaining the narrow spread listed for this contest. But Cincinnati and Cleveland remain miles apart in terms of quality and despite some key Bengals’ injuries in their secondary, Brian Hoyer isn’t the quarterback who can exploit that. This will be a tight, low-scoring affair, but eventually A.J. Green and Andy Dalton will take over. The Bengals look to be in a class of their own right now in the AFC North and they’ll keep showing that on Sunday afternoon. The Bengals are the better team here, and they’ll quickly make Brian Hoyer remember why he’s better suited to be holding a clipboard. Roll with Cincinnati as narrow road favourites.
PICK = Bengals -3.5 (-115)