The Bengals are six weeks into a season that has turned even the most optimistic fans pessimistic. A 2-4 record has raised significant cause for concern, and not only because of the underwhelming number of wins, but also because of the way the losses have played out. But, the AFC North is still very much in play with the Bengals only two games (really two and a half since they lost to the first-place Steelers) out of first place, the Ravens on a downward spiral and the Steelers having just lost Ben Roethlisberger for at least one week, but potentially longer. And the Browns, well, they haven’t earned a win yet this year, much less playoff contention.
Here are the AFC North standings after every team in the division lost in Week 6.
There haven’t been many AFC North matchups yet this season, but the Bengals will take on their second AFC North opponent in Week 7 when the Cleveland Browns and new head coach Hue Jackson come to town for the Battle of Ohio Part I.
The Bengals have opened as 10 point favorites to beat the Browns in Week 7 at home, with a point total set at 46, according BookMaker.eu.
Cincinnati has convincingly won the last three matchups against the Browns and seven of the last 10. But now, the Browns have an advantage with Jackson, the former Bengals offensive coordinator, as their head coach. The Bengals may need to change some hand signals or play-calls this week to avoid having Jackson teach his new squad the Bengals’ tricks. The Bengals acknowledged they did this in Week 4 when playing the Dolphins, whose defensive coordinator is Vance Joseph, Cincinnati’s former defensive backs coach.
A 10 point spread seems fitting for the game, especially considering the Bengals absolutely must win this game, one of the easiest matchups on the team’s schedule. So far this season, the Bengals' losses have come against the 4-2 Steelers, 4-2 Broncos, 5-1 Cowboys and 5-1 Patriots. It's not like they're losing to bad teams; the Bengals are losing to some of the NFL's best teams this season. The combined record of those four teams is 18-6. So, when the 0-6 Browns come to town, the Bengals need to ensure the squad from up north returns home 0-7.
Here are some of the other Week 7 opening odds from BookMaker.eu:
Bears at Packers (-9, 47)
Giants (-3, 44.5) at Rams
Vikings (-2.5, 40) at Eagles
Saints at Chiefs (-6.5, 49)
Redskins at Lions (-1, 51)
Bills (-3, 45.5) at Dolphins
Raiders at Jaguars (-1, 50)
Chargers at Falcons (-6, 51.5)
Buccaneers (-2.5, 47.5) at 49ers
What do you think about the odds on the Bengals vs Browns game?