Kizer needs to rise to the occasion

Browns To End Winless Run Against Bengals

The Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals face in the battle of two winless sides in their NFC North showdown.

The Browns have endured another poor start to the campaign. Hue Jackson’s men went 1-15 in the 2016 season, winning only once in the penultimate game. Cleveland now face the same situation this season in a desperate battle to avoid becoming only the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.

Cincinnati are also winless after losing in overtime to the Green Bay Packers. The Bengals had control of the contest, but a second-half comeback from Aaron Rodgers denied them the victory. The pressure has been raised on Marvin Lewis to rectify the situation, making a loss to the Browns unthinkable.

Lewis’ men have won the last five contests between the two sides, enjoying dominance over their rivals. Cleveland’s win over the Bengals come in the 2014 campaign when Brian Hoyer led them to a comfortable victory.

The Browns’ defense limited Dalton and his offense to just six points. They will need a similar performance from that unit this time around. Based off the displays early in the campaign it could be a possibility due to the struggles of the Bengals’ quarterback.

Cincinnati made a slight improvement against the Packers last week, but they are in dire need of a strong performance from Dalton.

It should be an enthralling contest between two struggling outfits. We’ll now break down the fortunes of the two sides thus far this season and the match using the latest betting odds.

Cleveland Browns

Kizer needs to rise to the occasion

The Brown are in the second year of their rebuild under the tenure of Jackson. The club have gone down the analytics route of team-building with Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta in the front office.

Their approach has been to accumulate as many draft picks as possible. As result they’ve passed on the opportunity to select quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson.

Whether this approach will bear fruit eventually is up for debate, but their rookie signal-caller DeShone Kizer has shown promise. However, despite the decent performances from the quarterback, the Browns remain winless.

Kizer made some plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his side’s mistakes saw them succumb to a narrow defeat. The 21-year-old suffered a migraine against the Baltimore Ravens, ruling him out of the second half of their loss at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Indianapolis Colts blew Cleveland away in the first half, and although Kizer boasted decent statistics, the match was not a close as the three-point margin of defeat. Injuries have knocked the offense off course as Corey Coleman has been ruled out with a hand injury.

Free agent signing Kenny Britt has failed to catch on with the offense. First round pick David Njoku has found some success with Kizer, but the Browns cannot afford to rely on the two rookies to produce on a weekly basis.

Defensively there are big concerns as the Browns were exposed by Jacoby Brissett. There is enough talent in the front seven at the least for them to be average. Jackson needs to see more from his defensive players to ease the burden on Kizer and to end their cycle of failure.

Cincinnati Bengals

Dalton needs to find his form

The Bengals also have huge concerns on both sides of the ball heading into the contest. Dalton has endured huge struggles at the start of the term, although he found a semblance of form against the Packers.

Cincinnati failed to muster a single point in their opening game of the season against the Ravens. Lewis’ men then were unable to find the endzone in their defeat to the Houston Texans on home soil. Their struggles in the opening two weeks of the campaign resulted in the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese.

Bill Lazor was installed as the new coordinator against the Packers. Dalton found rhythm as he completed 21 of his 27 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie Joe Mixon took over the majority of carries in the backfield, although he did not find great success.

Should the Bengals continue in the same vein against the Browns and moving forward for the rest of the campaign, they will not struggle for the entirety of the term. However, they need to click into gear and put teams of the Browns’ calibre to the sword.

In the first half of their contest against the Packers, Cincinnati’s defense held Aaron Rodgers in check.  This included a William Jackson pick-six of the future Hall of Famer, while Carl Lawson notched 2.5 sacks to stymie Green Bay’s production.

It’s almost impossible to stop Rodgers indefinitely and the quarterback proved the point with his late comeback and game-winning overtime drive. The defense is not far off becoming a stout unit, but will need to raise the level of their performances as the offense tries to find its way.

Betting Options

Both sides have had their struggles at the start of the term, but both have produced decent efforts in spite of their defeats. The Browns battled well against the Steelers, losing out by only three points.

The Bengals had the Packers reeling on the road, but were unable to stop Rodgers’ comeback and overtime victory.

Should Dalton and his offense perform like they did against Green Bay then the Bengals should be able to secure their first win of the term.

They had been extremely poor in the opening two weeks of the season, but came to life as the quarterback connected with AJ Green and Giovani Bernard in the endzone. A similar outing against Cleveland will put Kizer under pressure to match their production.

Although the Browns quarterback has talent, he’s nowhere near the level of Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense. As a result, the onus will be on Cleveland’s defense to limit Dalton and company once again.

Having coached the Bengals before joining the Browns, Jackson will have a plan in place. His knowledge alone along with the improvement of his roster could be the decisive factor, allowing the Browns to secure the win at odds of +160   with Bovada sportsbook.

Taking the spread of +2.5 for Cleveland at odds of +128   with Unibet is a good value. The Browns may also hold the Bengals’ offense to under 18.5 points at odds of +200   with SkyBet.

Tips Summary

Cleveland Browns To Beat Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday 1st October 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: +160

Cleveland Browns To Cover The +2.5 Spread
Sunday 1st October 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: +128

Cincinnati Bengals To Score Under 18.5 Points
Sunday 1st October 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: +200

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