Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Time: 7:20 PM
Spread: CLE -6
M/L: CLE -245; CIN +205
Odds c/o Bovada
Both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns began its seasons with a loss, and both clubs will be seeking redemption in Week 2. The Browns are 6-point favorites at home, with the over/under set at 43.5 total points according to NFL oddsmakers at bookmaker Bovada.
CLEVELAND NEWS & NOTES:
Every year there is a new reason for excitement in Cleveland but the team has continued to let its fanbase down. Expected to win the division by many last years, the Browns finished just 6-10 with one of its most talented rosters in perhaps over a decade. Kevin Stefanski steps in at head coach replacing Freddie Kitchens. Stefanski started as an OC in Minnesota in 2019, and he is now a head coach at just age 38. The Browns are counting on QB Baker Mayfield and the other No. 1 overall pick Defensive End Myles Garrett. Both must become true superstars for the team to reach its potential on either end of the football.
Mayfield is supposed to be Cleveland’s redemption in a long run of missing out on marquee quarterbacks in the NFL draft. In his rookie season two years ago, it looked poised to occur, but Mayfield mostly regressed last year in his sophomore campaign. A lot of it was due to poor pass protection, as he never found the time nor comfort needed in the pocket to complete the number of looks he ought to have had. His completion percentage fell from 63 to 59 percent last year, and he threw nearly as many INTs (21) as TDs (22). His passer rating went from 93.7 in Year 1 to just 78.8 a year ago.
If one could not discern where this was headed: The Browns were utterly embarrassed in Week 1 as the Baltimore Ravens handily defeated it 38-6. Baker Mayfield had a rough outing, despite throwing 21 of 39. He had an interception and was sacked twice for 21 lost yards. He also completed just 189 yards. Meanwhile, across the field, Lamar Jackson showed midseason form in Week 1. Jackson completed 20 of 25 with three TD passes and he also ran seven times for 45 yards, including a long-run of 16.
Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb had fair days rushing the ball for the Browns, as Hunt rushed 13 times for 72 yards and Chubb was good for 60 yards on his 10 attempts. Jarvin Landry led the receivers with 61 yards and he caught five of his six targeted passes. Odell Beckham Jr. struggled though. He was targeted 10 times but caught just three of those for 22 yards. David Njoku had 50 yards and the Browns only touchdown. The Browns fell to 0-1 with the season opener on the road. This will be its first chance at home this week as a favorite.
CINCINNATI NEWS & NOTES:
The Cincinnati Bengals lost week 1 13-15 to the San Diego Chargers. It was Cincy’s home opener, and now it will attempt to get back on track against AFC North division rival Cleveland. Joe Burrow had a rough outing in his NFL Debut. He did throw a respectable 23 of 36, but he failed to eclipse 200-yards passing and threw an interception with no TD passes. He also incurred three sacks for 20 total lost yards, all amounting to a QB rating of just 20.1.
Burrow had more success rushing the football, going eight times for 46 yards, and garnering the team’s only rushing touchdown of the game. Six receivers caught two passes or more, with AJ Green leading the way on his 51 yards with five catches, though Green did miss four targeted looks in the game. Burrow has all the tools, but some have questioned his arm strength. While he stood out in the finest of ways at LSU, the Tigers continually gave him all the tools needed to form a successful offense, with a strong OL and the backfield required to keep defenses honest. Cincinnati has some of the pieces to lead to a continuation of that collegiate success. Andy Dalton will remain around to help teach Burrow and serve as some insurance should he happen to incur any injury issues this year.
Joe Nixon and Burrow both had fumbled, and that aspect will have to be much more under control to avoid falling to 0–2 this week. Mixon fell to the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he has been a very pleasant surprise since overcoming a terrible misdemeanor assault case while at Oklahoma. Mixon has rushed for 1,000-plus yards the last four seasons and is a productive option that will help Burrow keep teams from attempting too many desperation sack efforts. Giovani Bernard is the No. 2 option in the backfield and he rushed for 3.2 yards-per-carry last year with a total of 404 yards.
There is enough talent in those two running backs and at receiver— where AJ Green can do some major damage— to allow Burrow to reach his full and vaunted potential. Both these teams have similar tales, but only one will emerge as a .500 club while the other falls to 0-2. NFL Oddsmakers thus far project that 0-2 team to end up being the Bengals.