Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals preview and NFL betting tips for this weekend’s match in Cincinnati, live on Sky Sports.
This week 11 clash between AFC North foes comes at a decisive time for both clubs. The Cincinnati Bengals have an opportunity to put themselves well and truly in the driving seat for the division crown, whilst the Browns could put themselves back in mix for both the division and a spot in the Playoffs with a win on the road here against division and instate rivals.
For the Bengals this is their second game in a row against AFC North opponents having just eked out a 20-17 victory over the Ravens a week ago. The Cleveland Browns come into this game reinvigorated after their BYE week and ready to put together a run to end a season which has been a pleasant surprise for everyone in the organisation who expected to be division doormats once again.
An area of strength for the Browns this season has been their pass defence which has been excellent, ranking 6th overall. This improved pass defence is anchored by Joe Haden who is finally living up to the 5 year $50m contract that he signed in 2010. Haden has tallied 1 interception to go along with 11 passes defended. Haden has been asked to cover the best opposing receiver in every game this year and he is a big reason why the Browns have been competitive this year despite a slew of injuries. Off season additions in the free agent market and draft have also made significant contributions. Ex-Raven Paul Kurger and first round pick Barkevious Mingo have both had excellent seasons, with Mingo having already amassed 4 sacks in his first season in the NFL.
Should the Browns manage to make the playoffs this year, it will be a miracle as the quarterback position has been a revolving door all year due to injuries. Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell have all seen time under centre this year. It is last years first round pick; Weeden who is the last man standing. After the big early season trade that saw 3rd overall pick in 2012 Trent Richardson move to Indiana in exchange for a 2014 first round pick, the Browns rushing offence has looked miserable ranking 26th in the league with a meagre 81.6 yards per contest. The inability to establish a run game has hurt an already mediocre passing offence.
At this stage of the season Andy Dalton has found his rhythm and things are really clicking on offence for the Bengals. Dalton is averaging 7.5 per pass and has picked up 18 touchdowns. His favourite receiving option AJ Green has already smashed past the 1000 yard mark for the season and has 1013 receiving yards heading into week 11. The main reason for the Bengals success is the range of scoring threats that they have. Green, Marvin Jones and second round draft pick from this past year’s draft; Giovanni Bernard have all amassed 6 or more touchdowns in total and 9 players in total have at least a single touchdown this season. Such a wealth of options makes the Bengals dangerous as it illustrates that any one offensive player can make a play at any time that can change the game.
The Bengals defence ranks in the top ten in both passing and rushing defence at 7th and 9th overall respectively. Based upon their performance so far this season it would appear that the Browns offence will be no match for this well rounded Benglas defence. The Bengals have already held the Browns to just 6 points this season in their week four encounter in Cleveland. If the Bengals can restrict the Browns to just field goal attempts and punts this weekend, they should walk away with a comfortable victory, as their offence has more than enough to pull out a victory if that is the case.
The key for the Browns in this game will be for the defence to shut down the passing game of the Bengals which has been dynamic this season. If Mingo and the other pass rushers can get to Andy Dalton quickly giving him very little time to move through his progression that will open up the secondary to make plays in pass coverage. Haden will need to be on his game against AJ Green while Tashaun Gipson, Buster Skrine and the other defensive backs will need to limit the production of other playmakers such as Mohammed Sanu and Tyler Eifert who if left open can cause damage. The defence will be relied on to make plays as the offence continues its struggles.
With the Browns well rested I would say that the 19/10 offered by Betfair in favour a Browns win is worth at least some consideration.
If you like the Browns to win, then also take a punt on the margin of victory being 1-6 points. Bet365 have you covered with odds of 4/1.
If you are leaning the other way and see a Bengals victory then I would recommend the margin of victory 13-18 points which is advertised at 6/1 by Bet365.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Betting Tips
Cleveland Browns to win – 19/10 Betfair
Browns Winning margin 1-6 points – 4/1 Bet365
Bengals to win by 13/18 points – 6/1 Bet365
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