When and where: December 8, 2019, First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, OH, 1:00 PM ET
An AFC North divisional showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns takes center stage in Sunday’s Week 14 NFL action. The Bengals spent last Sunday night celebrating like they won a Super Bowl after earning their first victory of the year and avoiding a winless season. To no one’s surprise, the New York Jets were on the receiving end of an embarrassing 22-6 loss to the worst team in football. The Browns know a thing or two about winless seasons. After falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13, they’ll be aiming to add a 12th loss to the Bengals 2019 resume'.
Bengals get their first winFor at least one Sunday afternoon, the Bengals weren’t the butt of the joke in the NFL.
You would have thought quarterback Andy Dalton was Gandalf returning with the rallying cry the Bengals displayed at home against the Jets. It only made sense for him to be the one to right the wrongs of an ugly and disappointing season. He helped the team avoid a future in the hall of shame for going 0-16.
The Bengals have a great shot of making it two in a row when going on the road to face the Browns. There is some Jekyll-and-Hyde to the Browns that has made them one of the most frustrating teams in recent memory. Are the Bengals going to see the Browns team that ramrodded the Baltimore Ravens and outlasted the Buffalo Bills? Or, is this the team that got blown out at home by the Tennessee Titans and defeated by the Brandon Allen-led Denver Broncos?
The Bengals are expected to have receiver John Ross back on the field, while they continue to take their time with the injured A.J. Green. Dalton will need all of the help he can get if his defense fails to hold up on their end. They rank second-worst in the league in total yards with opponents averaging 405.0 yards per game against them. Yet, their greatest weakness being against the run signals big problems with Nick Chubb coming out of the Browns’ offensive backfield.
The Bengals are allowing a league-worst 157.6 rushing yards per game. If Chubb is going to eat, Dalton and Bengals running back Joe Mixon must do the same on the offensive side of the ball against a Browns’ defense reeling after losing its best player, Myles Garrett. Speaking of reeling defenses, the Bengals could be without defensive end Sam Hubbard (knee) for this game.
Frustration continues for the BrownsOutside of the Dallas Cowboys, the Browns are without question the most underachieving team in the NFL. They can never get out of their own way.
Whether it’s coach Freddie Kitchens tripping over the play-calling, quarterback Baker Mayfield making an ill-advised throw, All-Pro wideout Odell Beckham being underutilized or star defensive end Myles Garrett getting himself suspended for the rest of the season—the Browns have proven to be their own worst enemy.
They had no answers for Devlin Hodges and the Steelers last week. So they’ll try to make amends by avoiding getting embarrassed at home by the moribund Bengals.
Jarvis Landry, not Beckham, is the No. 1 receiver for the Browns. An argument can be made that it’s actually a good thing because Mayfield is no longer forcing throws to Beckham. He’s obviously more comfortable in getting the ball in the slot to Landry, even if it means shunning arguably the best receiver in football. One would still have to think Kitchens can draw up some plays to get Beckham more involved against a struggling Bengals defense.
Chubb will obviously be the center focus given all of the problems up front for the Bengals. The Browns’ tailback has carved out a monstrous season with 238 carries for 1,175 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the defense continues to try to find its way without Garrett on the field. If they struggled in slowing down the Steelers, they could have problems against a reinvigorated Bengals offense with Dalton back behind center. It is also worth noting that Mayfield appeared on the injury report with a hand and rib injury.
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Bengals are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite.
- Bengals are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games in Week 14.
- Bengals are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Bengals are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win.
- Browns are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against teams in the AFC North.
- Browns are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games against a team with a losing road record.
- Browns are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games in Week 14.