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Browns vs. Bengals, 1 ET
This week features many divisional matchups and we see one here in the AFC North. The Bengals are currently tied for first with an 8-4 record and the Browns survived enough to still have an outside shot to grab the division if everything shakes out for them. The Browns now have their quarterback that they’ve invested their future in and this will be a good game to see how close or far away they are.
The Browns, as mentioned, are continuing to work Deshaun Watson back into the fold. He was able to get back into the mix after an 11-game suspension, and a full year off prior to that, against his former team, the Houston Texans. In that game, Watson did lead the Browns to victory, but he was only able to complete 54.6% of passes, gain 131 passing yards and threw an interception. So, basically, he was rusty. His legs, something that has given so much trouble to opponents over the years didn’t do much as he only collected 21 yards on seven attempts. After that long of a layoff, I’m sure he was happy to get back to playing but I’d imagine he was probably sore. Maybe he went for a massage after the game. Too soon? Now he faces the Bengals a team with a significantly better defense. Don’t expect him to turn a corner this fast.
The Bengals are still playing a division rival which always gives them problems. In fact when the Bengals played the Browns earlier this year – on Halloween – they were thumped to the tune of 32-13. Cincinnati will probably use that loss as motivation to win this game. One thing they will need to do is stop Nick Chubb. In the first matchup, Chubb went and collected 101 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals. Amari Cooper also made a big impact with 131 yards and a touchdown. Basically, the Bengals defense needs to show up. Burrow was fine in a game without Ja’Marr Chase, but they got next to nothing in the running game. The Browns have played well lately, but the Bengals are also on a nice 4 game-winning streak. I kind of wish they lost to the Chiefs as I’d hammer this play.
I’m taking the Bengals at home to win this game, the Browns got the best of them at their house, and I expect the same to happen here as Watson continues to break off the rust. I’m taking the Bengals -6 in this one.
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