It has been 11 long years since the Cleveland Browns have finished an NFL regular season with a winning record – but they could move one step closer to that goal Sunday afternoon as they host the division-rival Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns have won two straight and can secure their first above-.500 record since 2007 with victories in their final two games. The Bengals ended a five-game losing skid last time out with a 30-16 triumph over Oakland.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
If you’re thinking that is has been a while since the Browns were favoured by more than a touchdown, you’d be right. Cleveland is giving away seven or more points for the first time since Dec. 1, 2013 as it hosts a Cincinnati team without its starting quarterback and No. 1 receiver. The Browns are 5-2 against the spread (ATS) at home this season, while the Bengals have gone 11-4 ATS in their past 15 road games but were waxed 35-20 at home by the Browns in Week 12.
With a total of 45 for the final meeting of the season between the teams, the Browns have been a red-hot under play even in their resurgent 2018. Cleveland is 4-1 to the under in its past five games overall and has gone below the number in 14 of its past 16 December contests. The Bengals are a sizzling 7-1 O/U in their previous eight games against AFC North opponents, but have gone 5-0 to the under in their past five visits to FirstEnergy Stadium.
It wasn’t long ago that the Bengals were considered to have one of the league’s most lethal defences. But those days are long gone, with Cincinnati having allowed 30 or more points six times this season, including that humbling Week 12 home loss to the Browns. The biggest bright spot on offence: the emergence of second-year pro Joe Mixon, who has rushed for 240 yards and three touchdowns over the previous two games.
It’s easy to look at Baker Mayfield’s stats over the second half of the Browns’ season (1,594 passing yards, 70.7 percent completion rate, 13 TDs, 5 INTs) and conclude that he is the primary reason for Cleveland’s impressive 4-2 record over that span. But the offensive line deserves plenty of credit, too. Mayfield has been sacked just five times in those six games after being brought down 20 times in the first half of the season.