For the Bengals, this is as bad of a start as they could’ve hoped for. After a 6-9-1 season last year, fans had pretty high hopes that the Bengals would return to the playoffs this season, but an 0-3 start all but ends those hopes. The last team to do it was the 1992 Chargers.
The Browns knew this was a real possibility. They have made the right moves so far, but the reality is they are still a super young team. Plus they are starting rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.
The Good news for Cleveland is that it looks like Myles Garrett could make his regular-season debut this week, which in turn is terrifying news for Cedric Ogbuehi and Andy Dalton.
The Bengals injury report hasn’t shown much optimism. Tyler Eifert is going to play this week. John Ross also has yet to return to practice and is also out. The only good news is George Iloka was a full participant in practice Thursday, so he will probably be back out there on Sunday.
The winner of this game will be 1-3 and only two games behind the division leader, as the Steelers and Ravens are playing each other this week and are both 2-1. While the Bengals and Browns would still have quite a ways to catch up, it wouldn’t be impossible considering the Ravens and Steelers have yet to really impress anyone.
Oddsmakers view this as a pretty close one. As of Friday morning, the Bengals are only 3.5-point favorites. The Bengals opened as a 2.5-point favorite, so there is a chance it grows even more before kickoff. There are a few places that only have the Bengals as three-point favorites, but most have raised it to 3.5, according to OddsShark.
The Bengals have won five straight against the Browns, and they were all decided by at least 13 points. In fact, the last game that was decided by a field goal or less was in 2011. The Bengals and Browns don’t have a recent history of close games.
Here are some trends for both teams:
- Cincinnati is 7-12-2 against the spread in its last 21 games
- Cincinnati is 1-5 straight up in its last six games
- The total has gone under in six of Cincinnati’s last seven games
- Cincinnati is 2-5-1 against the spread in its last nine games on the road
- Cincinnati is 1-7 straight up in its last eight road games
- The total has gone under in four of Cincinnati’s last five games on the road
- Cincinnati is 5-0 against the spread in its last five games when playing Cleveland
- Cincinnati is 5-0 straight up in its last five games against Cleveland
- The Total has gone under in five of Cincinnati’s last six games when playing Cleveland
- Cincinnati is 4-2 against the spread when playing on the road against Cleveland
- Cincinnati is 4-2 straight up when playing on the road against Cleveland
- The total has gone under in four of Cincinnati’s last five games when playing on the road in Cleveland
- Cleveland is 2-10-2 against the spread in its last 13 games
- Cleveland is 1-21 straight up in its last 22 games
- The total has gone under in eight of Cleveland’s last 11 games
- Cleveland is 3-12-1 against the spread in its last 16 games at home
- Cleveland is 1-9 straight up in its last 10 games at home
- The total has gone under in five of Cleveland’s last five games at home
- CBS Sports has six of their eight experts picking the Bengals
- Fox Sports is projecting a 25.7 to 21 victory for the Bengals.
- All 10 of ESPN’s experts are picking Cincinnati.
- SB Nation has six of their nine experts taking the Bengals.
- NFL Pick Watch, which takes into account picks made by experts all around the internet, has the Bengals receiving 80 percent of the picks.
The Bengals showed real signs of life against one of the better teams in the NFL last week, but their struggles seem to be keeping the spread close between the Bengals and Browns. Still, the fact that these teams haven’t had a close game in quite some time should make you confident in the Bengals.