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Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals December 11 Betting Preview
The Cleveland Browns (5-7) take the trip south to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals (8-4) in a classic AFC North matchup. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m, and the weather projects to be calm, setting the scene for what should be a very chippy game.
The Browns (+210)
The Browns head into this matchup as the underdog, which shouldn’t surprise anyone despite already beating the Bengals earlier this year on Halloween. Deshaun Watson has shed the nerves of his debut with the Browns after an underwhelming showcase against the Texans in which the game speed rust was evident.
Unfortunately, Watson may be limited in where he can go with the ball this week as the Browns are starting to grow thin at wide receiver.
Rookie wide receiver David Bell injured his hand in last week's matchup and is still questionable to play Sunday, leaving a significant gap at the slot wide receiver position. To make matters worse, Anthony Schwartz has been put on IR due to a concussion and may not be back this season.
David Njoku may be able to suit up, which would provide Watson with another reliable receiver. Still, the Browns will depend heavily on Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. New addition Jaelom Darden may also be in line for heavy snap usage despite only signing with the team on Wednesday.
The Cleveland defense has picked up the pace after spending the first half of the season essentially picking dandelions off the field.
It's not uncommon for Joe Woods-led defenses to find their rhythm later in the season, but the timing is unfortunate with a Bengals offense that has been clicking. That said, Kevin Stefanski has made a habit of outcoaching Zac Taylor in these matchups.
Still, with the rustiness at quarterback, inconsistency on defense, and a surprisingly underwhelming offensive line as of recently, the Browns will need to play their best ball in all aspects.
Bengals -6 Point Favorites
This Bengals team could be headed for another deep playoff run. Everything on this offense is working. Runningback Joe Mixon has been out in the past weeks, but the Bengals have gotten great play out of the backup Samaje Perine.
That combined with the high level of success between quarterback and wide receiver gives the Bengals a step up over the competition. The Bengals receivers have circled this matchup on their calendar dating back to last season.
The trio of Chase, Higgins, and Boyd has called out the Browns cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome and wants to make a statement. I expect Zac Taylor to appease this request and air it out on the Browns, which aligns with the point total of this game, which is set at 47.
The Bengals defense also has to come to play, as evidenced by their impressive win over Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs last week. Linebacker Germaine Pratt may have taken the next step in his game and will be tasked with not only keeping Deshaun Watson honest, but trying to stop Nick Chubb.
If the Bengals get an early lead, it may be hard for the Browns to catch up. This one will be a considerable momentum win for either side as the playoff race tightens.
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