The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns are the feature teams on Thursday Night Football in Week 2. For some people, that might sound like an intriguing matchup, with the No. 1 pick from the most recent draft up against the No. 1 selection from the 2018 draft. From what we saw in Week 1, you would have believed that Joe Burrow was the quarterback with more experience.
Burrow couldn’t get the win in his first ever pro start, but kudos to the kid for hanging in there and looking comfortable. He didn’t get a preseason for a warm up, so all considered, Burrow did what he could to give the Bengals a chance to win. The Bengals looked like they won with a second, as Burrow engineered a late drive with seconds remaining to hit pay-dirt on a short pass to A.J. Green.
Nope, offensive pass interference was called to wipe out the touchdown. I was on the Bengals +3 and couldn’t disagree with the call. Green pushed off to create separation. Then a missed chip shot by Randy Bullock was the icing on the cake. I try to think positively, and maybe the Chargers score a touchdown in overtime to bury my +3? That could have happened. In any event, I went 4-0-1 in Week 1 for a good start to the NFL season.
We have a few props for Thursday Night Football in Cleveland. I treat props as fun bets and use a fraction of my bankroll. Phillip Lindsay getting injured after a solid first half turned what was likely a sure win to a loss on Monday night. Noah Fant receptions was a success, and we pushed on Melvin Gordon receptions. Note that you can fall of these NFL props at BetOnline for Thursday and the rest of the season. Select the button above for a free sign-up welcome bonus. Head below for our free Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns props picks for September 17, 2020 in NFL Week 2.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 17, 2020
Largest Lead (either team)
This bet was a win in the Steelers-Giants game on Monday night. I was thinking of doing the same in the second game, but didn’t end up pulling the trigger on that wager. The way I see this game unfolding is pretty simple. Joe Burrow showed plenty of promise in his first NFL start. He didn’t look flustered or out of place at all.
Oftentimes with young rookies they have a look on their face like they don’t belong there, but Burrow was cool as a cucumber and took what the defense gave him. That’s something else rookies have a knack for doing. Forcing bad throws trying to make something when nothing is there. Burrow avoided that critical mistake as well.
My problem with Burrow on Thursday night is the fact he’ll be playing on a short week. He had all the time in the world to prepare for the LA Chargers, and they still only managed 13 points. I wouldn’t mistake that with Burrow playing bad, though. He just needs more time and experience.
For the Browns, they are coming off a brutal performance against a quality Baltimore defense on the road. With Odell Beckham seeking a trade, and frustrations brewing, I can’t see them looking too crisp on a short week, too. Also note that their offensive line is a MASH unit right now with injuries piling up high. Three starters are listed as questionable as of Wednesday night. I don’t see either team pulling away with a big lead on Thursday night.
Kareem Hunt Receptions
If you weren’t paying attention last season, you might have missed that Kareem Hunt found his way onto the Browns’ roster. He’s another quality weapon on this team, but they’ve been unable to put everything together. It’s not like Baker Mayfield doesn’t have any help. Hunt is the finesse running back on this roster, with the ability to haul in passes as a receiver.
Nick Chubb is more of the hammer back of the team. Hunt caught more than three receptions in five games last season. He hauled in four receptions for 9 yards against the Ravens in Week 1. As we stated above, the Browns’ offensive line has significant injury concerns.
Expect Mayfield to utilize quick passes to plenty of underneath targets in this contest. Taking his time to survey the field may not turn out too well. It’d make sense that Hunt will be a reliable target for Baker on Thursday night. Look for Hunt to catch four more balls from his quarterback in Week 2.
Joe Mixon Carries (At Least)
Joe Mixon is the primary running back for the Bengals. The former Oklahoma Sooner is a vital piece of the Bengals’ offense this season. Before Burrow gets some more experience under center, Mixon will continue to be the focal point of the offense. They will certainly let Burrow throw the ball around the yard. There are weapons like A.J. Green and John Ross, but Mixon playing well is so important for helping Burrow out. If a run game can be established, that makes it incredibly easier on Burrow as a rookie.
Mixon carried the ball 19 times for 69 yards on 3.6 yards per carry. He must carry the ball at least 19 times on Thursday night for this wager to be a success. As I’ve noted, Burrow is going into this game with limited preparation because of the short week. He loses two days of valuable prep work in Week 2. It would be easy to see the Browns calling on Mixon’s number early and often in this one. Don’t expect the Bengals to allow Burrow to pass at will on Thursday night. Mixon should see at least 19 to 20 carries against the Browns.