NFL Picks: Browns Won't Stand a Chance Against Undefeated Bengals

David Lawrence

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 12:38 PM GMT

The Bengals just came off a draining game on Sunday. They need to take the Browns seriously – even if Johnny Manziel is starting. Let's review the NFL odds and decide on a winner for a free NFL pick.

Momentum
The Browns, as it's usually the case, have lost momentum and belief as the season has gone along. Too many close losses have created a recurring pattern, one which becomes harder and harder to break the more it plays out every Sunday. A few weeks ago, the Browns had a late lead against the Denver Broncos but could not hold that lead. They went into overtime. In overtime, they intercepted Peyton Manning and started a drive near the Denver 40-yard line. They needed just one first down to get into field goal range, but they couldn’t do that. They ultimately lost the game, in an all too typical turn of events for this franchise over the past decade, a decade which has been free of playoff appearances. That loss seemed to spill into this past Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Cleveland gained a 20-7 lead in the second quarter, but played it safe before the half, trying to burn clock instead of trying to get a first down. The Browns failed. Arizona scored a field goal just before the half. The Cardinals then dominated the third quarter and won the game easily, 34-20, shutting out the Browns in the second half and pounding quarterback Josh McCown, who suffered a rib injury which has him questionable for this game. Johnny Manziel might get the start instead.

For Cincinnati, it’s just the opposite: Everything is going right, and each week of successes builds more faith for the following week. The Bengals did not play well against the Pittsburgh Steelers – not on offense, anyway – but their defense kept playing hard; got an interception of Ben Roethlisberger; scored to take the lead; got another interception for a field goal; and then made one more stop to seal the win. Someone different every week is there to help this team win. It’s a change from the past, and the Bengals will try to keep the magic going.

 

Line Moves
The NFL odds started with the Bengals as 10.5-point favorites, and they are now 11-point favorites. The Bengals are clearly the better team, and they’re a lot healthier, as you’ll see in the injury report below. The betting public knows this.

 

Notable Injuries
The Browns have linebacker Scott Solomon listed on injured reserve. Cornerback Jordan Poyer is questionable with a shoulder injury. Cornerback Joe Haden is out indefinitely with a concussion. Safety Donte Whitner is expected to miss this game with a concussion. Linebacker Jerrell Freeman is questionable for this game with a groin injury. Wide receiver Brian Hartline is questionable with a concussion. Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins is doubtful with a concussion. Tight end Rob Housler is questionable with a hamstring injury. Quarterback Josh McCown is questionable with a rib injury.

For the Bengals, linebacker Rey Maualuga is questionable with a calf injury.

 

Handicapping The Game
The Cincinnati Bengals are watching everything come together for them. The only real negative about the Bengals’ season to this point is that, with New England and Denver also unbeaten, Cincinnati has no guarantee that it will get a first-round bye in the playoffs. Cincinnati will have to work for that particular prize, even though it does have a massive advantage in the AFC North, one which will be very hard to surrender in the coming weeks. Part of that process of trying to get into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 25 years involves taking care of the Cleveland Browns on a very short week.

The fact that the Bengals are healthy on a short Week 9 means a lot. That they’re playing at home against a bad team also matters. Take Cincinnati with your NFL picks.

Free NFL Pick: Bengals -11 at The Greek

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