By Charles Jay
When will the Cleveland Browns finally come up with a victory? Will they EVER? Good questions. But maybe their best opportunity comes this weekend, as they take on a hated in-state rival. They will start Robert Griffin III at quarterback as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC North game that is slated to get underway at 1 PM ET on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. BetAnySports customers can watch this game on CBS (on a regional basis) and place wagers in real time, as they take advantage of what Live Betting Ultra has to offer.
The Browns are 0-12 straight-up on the season (3-9 against the NFL odds) and they could very easily be looking into the future, which would dictate that they continue to start Cody Kessler at quarterback. But they are faced with the opportunity to use Griffin, who was signed in the off-season for purposes of being the starter. Of course, as a rookie he was hell on wheels, but injuries slowed him down considerably. And in the season opener, he fractured a coracoid bone in his throwing shoulder that has held him out until now.
The Bengals are pretty much out of the AFC playoff race with their 4-7-1 record (also 3-9 ATS). But they gave an inspired effort last week, holding the Philadelphia Eagles to just 239 yards and intercepting Carson Wentz three times. Whether Marvin Lewis sticks around beyond this season or not is anybody’s guess, but they still have a chance to get over the .500 mark.
In the NFL odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Bengals are the road favorites:
Cincinnati Bengals -5
Cleveland Browns +5
Over 42.5 points -110
Under 42.5 points -110
Griffin sat all of last season for the Washington Redskins, as coach Jay Gruden decided that he didn’t want him running the preferred west coast offense. And he made the start against the Eagles in the opener, completing just 12 out of 26 passes. So he has played just one game in the last 2+ seasons. His teammates are happy to see him behind center, but Griffin has still not demonstrated that he can be a successful dropback passer in the NFL. At least Kessler had kept his mistakes to a minimum, as he was intercepted only twice in 192 attempts.
And BetAnySports patrons may have noticed that Cleveland quarterbacks have been running for their life, as the offensive line, even with All-Pro Joe Thomas, has allowed 45 sacks. Kessler has suffered two concussions, and both Griffin and Josh McCown have gotten injured. The ground game hasn’t helped much lately; Duke Johnson is not your ideal every-down back, and Isaiah Crowell has gained 211 yards in the last eight games.
Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton has suffered through 32 sacks, and that far exceeds his total from last season. But what can the Browns do about it? They are the league’s worst when it comes to getting at the passer. And even through the Bengals are operating without a couple of primary offensive weapons (in all likelihood) – AJ Green and Gio Bernard – the Browns have allowed touchdowns on 31% of all their opponent’s drives, an indication that they have been charitable to just about everybody.
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