NFL Picks: Will New QB Austin Davis Give Cleveland a Fighting Chance?

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, December 3, 2015 2:55 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 2:55 PM UTC

Will the 3rd quarterback for the Browns this season, Austin Davis, give Cleveland a chance to stay competitive with the Bengals? Our NFL handicapper analyzes the game and makes his NFL Pick.

Mark’s 2015 NFL Record: 22-18-1

In Week 13 NFL action, the 9-2 Cincinnati Bengals travel to visit their cross-state rival 2-9 Cleveland Browns. In a matchup that was off the board for most of the beginning of the week because of questions revolving who would start for the Browns at quarterback; the opening odds have the Cincinnati Bengals favored by double digits. You can find the Bengals at -9 on SBR's live NFL odds board, but you’d need to jump on that line right now because I expect it to move towards Cincinnati quickly. The O/U total has opened at 43.5 at multiple books.

Cleveland naming a new starting quarterback is not an uncommon phenomenon. The Browns have had 16 starting quarterbacks since 2007 with the named starter for this game, Austin Davis, being the third one of this season. Davis is taking over for the injured quarterback, Josh McCown, who broke his collarbone in the Browns’ bad luck loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12. Of course, not that it matters, 22nd overall draft pick Johnny Manziel was recently demoted from starter to third string QB because he is an alcoholic and an idiot. Those two things are not a good combination of what to be when your job is “NFL quarterback”.

You’d have to think at some point the Browns start trying for the number one overall pick in the draft next year. They only have one team to beat for that position, the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are sure to pick up a win or two in the last five games of the season just due to the fact that they play in the terrible AFC South. After this game, the Browns host San Francisco, travel to Seattle and Kansas City, then finish up with Pittsburgh at home. They might be a less than touchdown underdog in only one of those games, that being next week against the dumpster fire 49ers. They have nothing to gain by winning games this year, and other than individual players trying to play well for contracts next year I’d question the motivation left for this team.

The Bengals have plenty to play for; however, and are tied with the Denver Broncos for the 2nd seed in the AFC and are one game back of the New England Patriots. Their history is not one in which they would desire to go through New England or Denver in the playoffs so I’d wager they’ll do anything possible to get home field position throughout the playoffs. That likely includes not letting up in a game in which they are favored by double digits on the road.

In the first meeting between these two teams, Cincinnati won by 21 points at home as a 13-point favorite, covering easily. They held Cleveland to just 213 total yards of offense while gaining 371 themselves. Cincinnati has done a lot of covering in all games lately, going 9-1-1 ATS in 2015. Cleveland has had much worse form, going 3-7-1 ATS in 2015, including 0-5 in their last five games.

The fact that this game has moved to Cleveland is the sole reason the line has shifted from 13 to 9 points in favor of Cincinnati, but now the Browns are starting their 3rd option of the year at QB. The only way that Cleveland stays in this game is that they play like they really have nothing to lose, while the Bengals have plenty. They might start slow like the matchup in Week 9, but Cincinnati’s talent will pull away in the end. Take the Cincinnati Bengals and lay the 10 points as one of your Week 13 NFL Picks.

NFL Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -10 (-105) at William Hill

comment here