Week 2 NFL Picks: Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, 9/16/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Cincinnati -7
Current Betting Line:  Cincinnati -7
Opening Total:  40
Current Total:  38
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton performed well against the Cleveland Browns last year

Cleveland faces a tall order in trying to pick up a victory against a division opponent in Week 2, considering its rookie quarterback posted a 5.1 passer rating last week, which was the worst opening-day rating for a first-year player in over 50 years.  “I didn’t see a guy that was starry-eyed,” commented Browns head coach Pat Shurmur.  “I see a guy that can play better.”  Rookie running back Trent Richardson got his first taste of action as well, finishing with 39 yards on 19 carries in a 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles as nine-point home underdogs.

The Browns will be playing the first of four games without star cornerback Joe Haden, who begins a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.  Cleveland will miss him in a big way this week, as he was expected to match up with Cincinnati’s star wide receiver A.J. Green.  The franchise has lost the last three meetings in this series, while going 4-8 when facing off inside Paul Brown Stadium.  Defensively, the team allowed a lot of yards, but was able to force five turnovers.

Cincinnati has to be disappointed in its 44-13 blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens as seven-point road underdogs on Monday Night Football, something that they hope to bounce-back due to their 13-5 record in this series under head coach Marvin Lewis.  “We were flat outplayed in every area of the game,” stated Lewis after the game.  The Bengals enter a very important stretch, facing rookie quarterbacks in four of the next five weeks.  Cincinnati is 2-3 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 7 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Bengals are 25-19 all-time in home openers, including a 4-2 mark in such contests that don’t serve as a season opener.  Quarterback Andy Dalton compiled a 104.5 passer rating in two games in this series last year, completing 67.4 percent of his passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns.  Green was a big play threat, catching four passes for 151 yards.

Sports bettors will likely back the Browns due to their 5-0 ATS mark following a straight-up loss, while the Bengals are 0-5-1 ATS versus divisional foes.

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