Since 1980, only five teams have started the season 0-3 and still gone on to make the playoffs. The good news for the winless Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals is that one of these winless teams will get on the board (unless they tie) this weekend.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Point Spread: Cincinnati -3 Date: Sunday October 1st, 2017 Location: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, Ohio
Point Spread And Betting Analysis
The Bengals covered for the first time this season against the Packers on the road but they are 0-3 straight up and they have been outscored 60-33 through three games. Meanwhile, Cleveland is also 1-2 against the spread this season, including two losses by a combined six points. Cincinnati opened as a three-point favorite against the Browns this week and so far, the bets have poured in on the Bengals. 96% of the early action was on Cincinnati.
The Bengals are in a tough spot following a brutal start, but their focus remains locked on picking up their first win this week. The offense showed signs of life under new coordinator Bill Lazor as Andy Dalton threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over. Rookie running back Joe Mixon rushed for 62 yards on 18 carries.
Considering Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill combined for just 10 carries, there is a good chance that Mixon will get the bulk of the carries this week against the Browns. Meanwhile, the defense did a good job of getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers before he came alive in the second half. The bottom line is the Bengals showed signs of life in a tough spot last week. A similar effort gets a win in Week 4.
Turnovers ultimately doomed Cleveland in a 31-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns but also tossed three picks. Hue Jackson hasn’t sheltered his quarterback and as a result, there have been some obvious highs and lows through the first three weeks of the season.
Running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. combined for 67 yards and a touchdown in last week’s loss to the Colts, so it will be interesting to see if either gets more than 14 carries this week. The Bengals rush defense is ranked 26th in yards per game, so if the Browns can run the ball and take some pressure off of Kizer, they could be in this game.
The Browns defense needs to step up in this one if they’re to compete. They’ve allowed 25.3 points per game so far. Playing in front of the home audience might give them a boost, though.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction
Cincinnati 31, Cleveland 21