clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bengals vs. Browns: Expert picks, analysis, odds and predictions

What are the experts saying about Bengals vs. Browns Round 2?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

When the Bengals and Browns face off in Week 15, both teams are in must-win scenarios in terms of their playoff hopes. The 7-6 Browns can't afford to lose in their home finale with so many teams tied and ahead of them in the playoff standings,.

As for the 8-4-1 Bengals, they get the Broncos on Monday Night Football next week, followed by a road trip to Pittsburgh to end their season. Needless to say, this matchup with the Browns is the easiest of those three games, and a win will also keep the Bengals on top of the AFC North for at least one more week.

So, what are the experts saying about this one?

Here are the ESPN Stats of the Week for this game:


The number of NFL rookies since 1970, including Johnny Manziel, who have started in the team's 14th game or later when the team had a winning record. Manziel is the first to do when the starter ahead of him was not injured. The last one to do it was Kirk Cousins, and he led Washington to a 38-21 win - over the Browns, naturally.


Number of turnovers the Bengals have committed in the seven series meetings with the Browns since Andy Dalton became the Bengals' starting quarterback in 2011. Four of the turnovers came in last month's meeting that Cleveland won 24-3. In the last seven meetings, Cincinnati's defense has only forced nine turnovers.

The guys at Pro Football Focus want you to keep an eye on these three impact players from each team:

Cincinnati Bengals

Andrew Whitworth - He leads the league with a ridiculously low eight QB pressures allowed (zero sacks) and aPass Blocking Efficiency of 98.6.

A.J. Green - Green's 3.29 Yards Per Route Run is by far the highest in the league, and only one receiver has had a better grade than his +10.4 over the last four weeks.

George Iloka - He's allowed only nine receptions all year and his 57.4 Cover Snaps Per Reception is the highest among safeties in the NFL.

Cleveland Browns

Andrew Hawkins - Hawkins has been the Browns' best and most consistent receiver for the team all year, and his +11.4 overall grade is 11th among receivers.

Jabaal Sheard - Sheard has made 21 solo run stops in limited snaps, giving him the second-best Run Stop Percentage among 3-4 outside linebackers.

Chris Kirksey - His 16.9 Cover Snaps Per Reception and 0.48 Yards Per Cover Snap are both second-best among inside linebackers.

A number of expert pickers think the Bengals will win this week. There's not a lot of confidence in Manziel at this point over at ESPN -- nine of the 13 experts are going with the Bengals. It's a similar breakdown at CBS Sports, though the Browns have a little more support. Five of the eight experts picking there went with the Bengals, and here's what Pete Priscoe is looking for in this game:

The first career start for Browns QB Johnny Manziel: The Browns have waited a long time to put in their first-round pick, but the time is right for Johnny Football to play. No matter what happens, it's the right decision for the future -- if not for now.

Bengals WR A.J. Green against Browns CB Joe Haden: This is a battle of two of the best in the league at their positions. Green has never caught a touchdown pass against the Browns in large part because of Haden's man-cover skills. Does he get one here?

He's also picking Cincy to get the win:

Bengals (+1) over Browns: Johnny Manziel will be making his first NFL start for the Browns, and while he will make some interesting plays, I think he will make some rookie mistakes. The Browns beat up the Bengals the first time they played, but this time the Bengals turn the tide. Andy Dalton finally throws a TD pass to A.J. Green against the Browns. Bengals take it.

The experts at FOX Sports are going the other direction -- three of their five are going with the Browns. The guys at Inside the NFL are going with the Browns in this one.

Only two of the experts with SB Nation are going with the Bengals. As for who Vegas likes, there are even odds on Bengals vs. Browns with an over/under of 44 points, according to OddsShark.