The Cleveland Browns may be 0-4 on the road this season but they find themselves just a 1 point underdog at Cincinnati in the AFC week 12 free pick. The Bengals have dropped 4 of 5 and will likely be without A.J. Green today (D-toe) but is home field enough in this division matchup? Three of the four Browns road losses have been by 3 points or less so maybe today’s the day Cleveland puts it together away from home?
Can Browns Exploit a Porous Bengals Defense?
Cleveland is coming off a very solid 28-16 win over Atlanta that was led by Baker Mayfield’s efficient 17/20 216 yard 3TD/0INT day. Actually it was the ground game that came alive for the Browns as Nick Chubb ran the ball 20 times for 176 (boosted by a 92 yard run). We could see more of that same offensive success for Cleveland in the AFC week 12 free pick. The Bengals defense has been atrocious, ranking last in the NFL with nearly 450 yards allowed per game. Cincinnati is 31st vs. the pass (295.6) and 32nd vs. the run (153.8). That has been good enough for opponents to score 31.2 ppg on the Bengals which is also 31st in the league. Mayfield has to be licking his chops today.
While the Cleveland offense should be free wheeling today, is it actually going to be their defense that shuts down a banged up Cincinnati team? The Browns defense has actually given up a ton of points lately, 33+ in three of the last five. Cleveland did give up 330 yards and 2 TD to Matt Ryan last week but the Falcons were largely one-dimensional as they ran just 19 times for 71 yards. The Bengals are 28th in the NFL in rushing yards so can Cincinnati win a one-dimensional game without their star WR?
Does Cincinnati Have the Edge With Hue Jackson on Staff?
There’s nobody that knows this Cleveland team better than special assistant to the head coach for Cincinnati Hue Jackson. That’s because Jackson was the head coach of the Browns since 2016 before being jettisoned earlier in the season. Can Jackson’s knowledge of the inner workings of Cleveland help the Bengals defense that has allowed 28+ points in 4 of the last 5? The Bengals have allowed 42.5 ppg their last two home contests that includes giving up 244 yards rushing to the Saints and 450 yards passing to the Buccaneers. The O/U in the AFC week 12 free pick is 46.5 – do we have a potential shootout on our hands?
A big question is how much the Bengals offense can contribute to that point total without the services of A.J Green? The truth is the Cincinnati offense wasn’t doing much even with Green in the lineup, scoring 21 points or less in 4 of the last 5 games. The Bengals have one win since October 7th, a 37-34 win over Tampa Bay that was fueled by a 123 yard, 2TD game from Joe Mixon. The Bengals had just 16 carries for 48 yards last week vs. Baltimore while allowing 267 on the ground. Andy Dalton has thrown for over 211 yards just once in the last four games as well. The Browns defense is 30th vs. the pass though and also 28th vs. the rush so the Bengals O should put up some numbers today.
AFC Week 12 Free Pick
The Browns have gone 0-7 ATS the last seven H2H meetings but it’s been a year of turnarounds for Cleveland. The Bengals may be without Green, but they still have some outside weapons in Tyler Boyd and John Ross. That being said, who better to help devise a solid game plan vs. Cleveland than their coach of 2-1/2 or so years in Hue Jackson. That edge combined with home field give the Bengals the advantage in this proverbial toss up.
AFC Free Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -1