The Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals face off on Sunday for the first time this season. It’s a matchup that could ultimately have AFC playoff implications down the road. Looking for NFL odds, channel options, or a prediction for the Browns vs. Bengals game? We’ve got it all right here.

The Browns open as 3-point underdogs against the Cincinnati Bengals. But if you go by their Week 8 performances, neither team is entirely deserving of confidence.

The Browns are coming off a 15-10 loss to the Ben Roethlisberger-ridden Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals, meanwhile, followed up their 41-17 victory over the Ravens with a 34-31 loss to Mike White and the Jets. If you were trying to understand the NFL, that’s your signal to give up and try something more realistic.

How to watch Bengals vs Browns this week

Thus far, the Bengals and Browns are just one game apart, and they’re even less separated against the spread (ATS). Cleveland is 4-4 ATS on the year, while the Bengals are 4-3-1, with a push coming against the Packers in early October.

Browns vs. Bengals prediction

The projected total of 46 may seem low, especially for a Cincinnati squad that’s scored over 30 points in its last three games. However, the Browns’ anemic offense tips the scales a bit — and over the past two weeks, the defense has been able to drag other teams down with them. Of course, the Bengals’ offense is a clear step up from the Broncos and Steelers.

The Browns and Bengals are similar, in a way. Both teams have proven, to this point, that they are legitimate playoff contenders in the AFC. However, both are also very clearly flawed. Cincinnati’s loss to the Jets was emblematic of an inconsistency that’s been prevalent throughout Zac Taylor’s tenure. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s loss to New York was brought on by a complete lack of chemistry and cohesion on offense.

Heading into the trade deadline, there were rumors that the Browns would potentially trade Odell Beckham Jr., as he and Baker Mayfield never seem to be on the same page. But the deadline has passed without Beckham being traded, and now that communication gap remains on Cleveland’s list of issues. Couple that with Mayfield being uncomfortable and not entirely healthy, and their passing attack is in dire straits.

If there’s a silver lining for Cleveland, it’s that their defense has been much more effective. The Browns are earning pressure at a top-five rate in the league, and they also have one of the stingiest secondaries in the NFL. Health has been an issue, however. John Johnson III is day-to-day, and standout rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is still on the injured reserve.

For two imperfect yet talented AFC teams, what is the deciding factor?

Cleveland’s defense is the better unit, but Cincinnati’s defense has also been fairly solid this year — of course outside of a Week 8 debacle against the Jets. When two teams with above-average defenses play each other, the deciding factor naturally has to be whichever offense can better withstand the expected defensive resistance.

Right now, I think the offense more equipped to deal with that is Cincinnati’s — although their offensive line is a big wild card. Jonah Williams, Quinton Spain, and Riley Reiff have been solid this year, but rookie right guard Jackson Carman might not be healthy enough to go on Sunday. And center Trey Hopkins has been replacement-level at best.

Myles Garrett is a guaranteed pressure-maker every week, so the question is whether the rest of the line can hold up against a reasonably talented Browns front. If so, Joe Burrow is lightyears ahead of Mayfield with his chemistry between receivers. I’m willing to bet on that chemistry to push the Bengals ahead for now.

However, with all the talent the Browns have in the secondary, that chemistry will be interrupted at times, and any win will come off a select few big plays.

Prediction: Bengals 21, Browns 17

Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals Week 9
Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium,Cincinnati,OH-45202
Starting on
November 7, 2021
How to watch Bengals vs Browns this week Start time: 1 PM ET Date: Sunday, November 7 Channel: FOX Live stream: fuboTV ( Get 7days Free Trial) Tickets: Get Tickets Here as Low as $122
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By imhs29