Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns Predictions: Should We Bet on Joe Burrow and the Bengals Bouncing Back?
Just 1.5 games separate the four teams in the AFC North, making every divisional battle crucial for each team’s playoff chances. That is no exception this week as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Cleveland Browns, with both teams coming off disappointing losses. Will the Bengals prove that their loss to the Jets was an aberration, or will Cleveland continue to expose Cincinnati’s flaws and avoid their fourth loss in the last five games?
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds
Date: Sunday, November 7, 2021
Game Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: CBS
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns INJURY REPORT
Questionable: S John Johnson III (neck)
OUT: OT Jack Conklin (elbow), CB Denzel Ward, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, S Richard LeCounte III, DE Takkarist McKinley, CB A.J. Green
Questionable: G Jackson Carman (back)
OUT: WR Auden Tate, RB Chris Evans, CB Trae Waynes (hamstring), LB Jordan Evans, G Xavier Su’a-Filo
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction
Has panic mode set in for the Browns yet? The answer to that question will go a long way in determining the outcome of this game. Cleveland had Super Bowl aspirations coming into the season, but an inconsistent offense and a defense that cannot get off the field in big spots has led to a 4-4 start. Cleveland welcomed back a healthy Nick Chubb for the first time in three games, but it did not matter much as Pittsburgh’s defense held Chubb to 3.8 yards per carry and held the Browns to less than 100 yards rushing on the day. In addition, Baker Mayfield’s torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder has severely limited the ceiling of this passing attack. If the Browns continue to lose games, they may have to seriously think about getting Mayfield surgery and going with Case Keenum the rest of the way.
The Bengals were served a bit of humble pie last week, as they blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead to the Jets. The week prior, they looked like serious contenders for the AFC North crown after dominating the Ravens 41-17 in Baltimore. Cincinnati’s three losses have come by a total of nine points, so it is not like they have been blown out in any game. However, they allowed more than 25 points for the first time all season against the Jets in Mike White’s first career NFL start, which must concern head coach Zac Taylor.
The Browns and Bengals have a history of playing high-scoring games in their head-to-head matchups. The over has cashed the last seven times the two teams have met, with each team scoring 30 or more points in their two regular-season matchups last year. Cincinnati backers may also be encouraged to know that the Bengals are 11-2 ATS in their previous 13 games against Cleveland and have covered the spread in five of their last six home games against the Browns. However, the smarter play is to buck the trend of the overs teams and count on much more of a defensive struggle.
The Browns entered last week’s game against the Steelers with the No. 1 ranked pass block win rate in the league. However, their pass protection and run blocking took a significant hit as right tackle Jack Conklin is expected to miss multiple weeks with a dislocated elbow.
After getting gashed for 84 total points in consecutive losses to the Chargers and Cardinals, Cleveland’s defense has held up well the last two weeks, holding Denver and Pittsburgh to 29 combined points. Thus, the bigger question entering this week is which Bengals defense will show up? Will it be the one who held Green Bay, Detroit, and Baltimore all well below their season scoring averages in three straight weeks? Or will it be the one that allowed Mike White to become the first quarterback since 1950 to throw for 400+ yards and three or more touchdowns in his first career start?
We prefer to judge Cincinnati more on the larger sample size of their first seven games and give them a pass for last week, as that their road game against the Jets was a tough spot on the road sandwiched between two divisional games. These teams rank in the top seven in the league in defending the run, which will go a long way in making the opposing offenses one-dimensional. However, the problem, especially with Cleveland’s offense, is that their 26th-ranked passing offense does not scare anybody.
Look for this game to be a rare defensive struggle, cashing the under for the first time in the last four seasons in a Browns-Bengals matchup.