Bengals will cover while picking up their first W of the season in Cleveland

in sportsteem •  2 years ago

Full disclosure: this is a homer pick. My brain doesn't feel that great about giving the Browns 4.5 points on their home turf, but my heart believes in my Bengals (foolishly).

Both the Browns and the Bengals seem pretty bad, but I think there's reason to believe the Bengals are significantly less bad, at least for this week. Bill Lazor has had another week to work with the Bengals offense, and in his first week it was already approaching functionality. Since it's only his second week, there's not a lot of tape for the Browns to look at to gameplan. Also, Marvin Lewis is theoretically coaching for his job this week, although in reality Mike Brown probably wouldn't fire him even if he took this team 0-16.

The Browns are 29th in offensive DVOA per Football Outsiders, and the Bengals defense seems pretty solid so far. They held Aaron Rodgers relatively in check last week; the fact that they even had a 14 point lead to squander is promising in a weird way. Plus Vontaze Burfict returns from suspension this week and should give the Bengals D an additional shot in the arm. All in all, I don't see the Browns making much happen on the offensive side of the ball.

One cause for concern: there's a nonzero chance that Burfict takes a boneheaded penalty to put the Browns in scoring position for a backdoor cover. Such is life.

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