Whether or not it was as a result of Deshaun Watson was rusty or as a result of their offense struggled with the midseason change at quarterback, the Browns’ offense wasn’t nice on Sunday towards the Texans. Cleveland gained, 27-14, however its offense didn’t rating a landing, with the group as an alternative getting scores by way of fumble return, punt return and interception return. (It was solely the fourth time since 2001 that one group obtained scores of that nature in the identical sport.) Of its 11 non-kneeldown drives, the Browns punted six instances and had three others finish due to turnovers or a security, and considered one of its two discipline objectives got here after a drive of solely eight yards. Watson averaged a horrible 3.91 adjusted yards per try.
The issue for Cleveland is that its protection (twenty seventh in DVOA) and particular groups (twenty fifth in DVOA earlier than Sunday’s sport) often are fairly awful and certain can’t be counted upon to provide two video games in a row, significantly when the opponent is just not the terrible Texans however fairly a surging group just like the Bengals, who’ve gained 4 straight since a 32-13 loss to the Browns on Oct. 31.
In that sport, the Browns sacked Joe Burrow 5 instances, which represents 20 p.c of their whole sacks this season. Burrow’s safety has gotten so much higher, nonetheless: Within the season’s first eight video games, ending with the primary sport towards Cleveland, the Bengals have been permitting 3.6 sacks per sport. Within the 4 video games since that Browns loss, Cincinnati has given up solely 5 sacks whole.
The Browns’ dashing protection ranks thirty first in DVOA, so the Bengals additionally shouldn’t have a lot hassle shifting the ball with its working backs, whether or not it’s Joe Mixon (who has missed the previous two video games with a head harm) or Samaje Perine (who had 106 dashing yards towards the Chiefs on Sunday whereas additionally catching six passes). Working backs are averaging 4.8 yards per try towards the Browns (twenty sixth within the NFL).
With Watson clearly not in sport form and the Bengals on the rise, I’ll take the favourite right here.
Listed here are the remainder of this week’s level matchups and level spreads.