Winless Browns Officially Name Robert Griffin III Starter Vs. Bengals

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, December 8, 2016 4:29 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 4:29 PM UTC

All of SBR's best sportsbooks still list the 0-12 Cleveland Browns as favorites to NOT go winless this season despite just four games remaining. On Sunday, the team will start Robert Griffin III against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.

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Of course RGII was the Browns' opening day starting quarterback, but Griffin hasn't been able to stay healthy since his amazing 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year season with the Washington Redskins and he was hurt in that Week 1 29-10 loss in Philadelphia. RGIII completed 12 of 26 passes for 190 yards with an interception and rushed five times for 37 yards but broke a bone in his shoulder. He was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return and has been practicing with the team since last week when Cleveland was on the bye.

It makes sense for Coach Hue Jackson to name Griffin III his starter because the Browns need to see if he has anything left to make a determination on whether to bring Griffin back next year. He also likely gives the Browns a better chance of that first victory than veteran journeyman Josh McCown or rookie third-round pick Cody Kessler would. Kessler started Cleveland's Week 7 game at Cincinnati and was 9-for-11 for 82 yards before being knocked out injured. The Bengals won that game 31-17, their fourth straight double-digit victory in the series.

Cleveland is currently a 5.5-point dog on NFL odds against a Bengals team that has disappointed at 4-7-1 and is also playing out the string. RGIII might not make it out of this one healthy considering the Browns have given up a league-high 45 sacks -- no other team has even given up 40.

If the Browns don't pull off the upset Sunday, it would mean Cleveland will have gone a full calendar year without a victory. The team's last win came Dec. 13, 2015, a 24-10 home victory over San Francisco. The Browns' QB that day? Johnny Manziel. Hey, a Heisman winner from a Texas school! Maybe that bodes well for RGIII.

The underdog has covered 13 of the past 19 on NFL picks in the Bengals-Browns series.

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