AFC North rivals clash in an I-71 battle between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns on “Monday Night Football.” Joe Burrow has been lighting it up the last two weeks for the Bengals offense, while Nick Chubb and the Browns have dropped four in a row. Who will get the win and cover on MNF?
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Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Adam Burke: The loss of Ja’Marr Chase will likely slow the Bengals down, but a matchup with the Browns defense is a good one. Cleveland ranked 28th in Total Defense DVOA entering Week 8 (28th against the pass and 27th against the run). A bevy of injuries, including to Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, have hurt the Browns’ pass rush. Those guys are still out. Anthony Walker Jr. is still out. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah also popped up on the injury report.
With a banged-up defense and (hopefully for Cleveland) a lame-duck defensive coordinator, it’s hard to see the Browns having much success against Joe Burrow and his weapons. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are excellent wideouts and Hayden Hurst is likely to get a bigger target share. At + 255, Hurst is a good gamble for an Anytime TD prop in this game.
The Browns have allowed 12.5 yards per reception and only have two interceptions. Burrow has been seeing the field better since moving exclusively to the shotgun, which should cut down on Cleveland’s pass rush. The Browns haven’t been forcing takeaways all season, so why would they force any now?
The Browns offense is still productive, as they’ve rushed for 5.2 yards per carry. They’re still eighth in points per drive with 2.26, even with some kicking and red-zone woes. They’re also allowing 2.33 points per drive. Cincinnati’s defense is fortunate to have only allowed seven touchdowns in 18 red-zone trips, so that may bode well for the Browns, who have done a good job moving it between the 20s.
The Over 45 is an attractive play. The two 2020 games in this series totaled 65 and 71 points. Last year’s games totaled 57 and 37, but the second game was the season finale and featured Case Keenum versus Brandon Allen. This game will look a lot different.
Pick: Over 45