These Thursday games sure come up fast! Already it is Week 9 of the NFL season, and we’re starting things off with a classic Battle of Ohio showdown live from Cincinnati. The Bengals host their in-state rivals and enter with a perfect 7-0 record. They’re also 7-0 against the number and have really shown a killer instinct in putting away inferior competition this season. Meanwhile, it’s been another tough season in Cleveland. The Browns are awful once again and enter with a 2-6 record. This week will be a tad different however for Cleveland, as the much-maligned Johnny Manziel is slated to start at quarterback. It’s definitely not going to be easy for the youngster, but this sure makes for some riveting television. It should be a can’t-miss matchup on Thursday night, so read on below for a game breakdown and a score prediction.
Browns vs. Bengals Betting Odds:
Cleveland Browns +11 (+100)
@ Cincinnati Bengals -11 (-120)
Over 45.5 (-110)
Under 45.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Browns vs. Bengals Pick:
If you’re thinking the Bengals are due for a down week or a bit of a letdown game – think again. In a state rivalry game like this, Cincinnati will be primed and ready to roll in this standalone showdown vs. the Browns – especially with Manziel playing. The Browns enter Thursday evening a bit banged up on their defense – especially within their secondary. It’s expected that Joe Haden and Donte Whitner both won’t be able to suit up. This is awful news for Cleveland and leaves a couple of glaring holes within the Browns’ defense. Look for huge outings from Andy Dalton, Marvin Jones, and A.J. Green.
Even on the ground, Cincinnati should be able to move the football quite well. Cleveland also boasts a pretty awful run defense, so look for Jeremy Hill to finally receive that breakout showing fantasy owners have been longing for. With the run game working, it’ll allow the Bengals to control the flow of the game and maintain possession for however long they choose. Expect this to also open things up for Dalton through the air.
On defense for the Bengals, it’ll be interesting to see their approach against Manziel on Thursday. Cincy has dominated the sophomore QB in the past and surely Cleveland will need to make some adjustments in order to protect their young quarterback. Cincy boasts a pretty ferocious pass rush and that doesn’t bode well for a Browns O-Line that has given up the most sacks in football. Just an overall awful matchup for Cleveland. Expect the Bengals to feast on Manziel Thursday evening and make it a very tough evening for the former Texas A&M product. Cleveland won’t be able to generate much of anything. Manziel won’t have time to throw very often and their run game issues are well-documented. A clear running back rotation is non-existent right now, and Cincinnati smothers this pretty well regardless.
In summary, the Bengals match up very, very well against the lowly Browns. This game screams blowout, and look for Cincinnati to do just that and send their hometown fans home on a happy note. Cleveland’s secondary is a disaster right now, so look for some stat-padding going on from the Bengals talented array of receivers and backs. Too much is on the line for the Bengals to have a letdown of any sort, so take them in a rout to kick off Week 9.
PICK = Bengals -11 (-120)