Cincinnati will take care of their inner-state rivals Cleveland although it will be tougher than previous years...
One man, one state, two teams. The famous Paul Brown had a hand in creating both the Ohio-based teams, the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, and they’ve been tussling for bragging rights ever since. Come Thursday Night, expect the reigning NFC North champs to stuff a resurgent Browns to take charge of the most competitive division in football.
Whilst Marvin Lewis’ Bengals had a sticky patch a few weeks ago where they were heavily beaten by the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati have re-found their confidence and will be desperate for the win against Cleveland. Their high-powered offence, buoyed by the return of superstar AJ Green and the form of Mohammed Sanu, will power them to a victory so take the Bengals at 87/100 to win by at least 7 points.
With young running back Giovanni Bernard out and unlikely to be fit within the short week, it’ll be up to Jordan Hill to perform at a high level again like he did on Sunday against Jacksonville. The rookie ran for 154 yards on 24 carries, scoring two touchdowns and really ignited the Cincinnati offence when the passing game became a little inconsistent. He’ll get his chance again and go for him to score the first TD of the game. He’s full of confidence to repeat his impressive performance again.
Cleveland as a city in general has been in resurgence this summer, the place famous for failure saw LeBron James return home in basketball and the team draft the most entertaining college player in recent memory both on and off the field in Johnny Manziel. They are 5-3, a great return after many season of below-par performances but they aren’t quite as good as their record might suggest.
They had been on a bit of a slide recently, even though it was halted this Sunday it came against a sorry Tampa Bay team and they might find it hard to stop the Bengals’ strong run game. They rank 31st against the rush, allowing almost 140 yards per game so look for the Bengals to take advantage of that and score over 30 points, they’ve done it three times this season and they are primed to do it again.
And here’s a cheeky little one for you, Andy Dalton to score a TD at any time. He’s scored a catching touchdown a few weeks ago in a trick play and he does enjoy a few QB sneaks, they might want to call another little play to fool the Browns defence on national TV. It’s not as farfetched as people might think, you’d be surprised how keen he is to run at 300 pound men or allow Sanu to throw him the ball.