Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals Matchup Preview (11/7/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals Matchup Preview (11/7/21)

The Cleveland Browns are one tough team to figure out. Cleveland was a trendy pick to have a deep postseason run going into the season, as they’re riding off the playoff success of last year and got some extra help in the offseason. However, things haven’t quite gone as planned for the Browns, as they sit at 4-4, alone in the AFC North cellar. Injuries and inconsistency have been major factors in the team’s regression, as seen in a 15-10 letdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns desperately need a win right now, but it’s not going to come easy this week. 

The Cincinnati Bengals are also coming off a tough loss to the New York Jets. Facing a team starting an inexperienced QB, the Bengals dropped a 34-31 game after building plenty of momentum heading into the game. The team is now 5-3 in a competitive divisional battle that could rage until the end of the year. If head coach Zac Tayor wants to hold onto the momentum of the start to the season (as well as his job), he’ll need some big victories down the line. When the Browns take on the Bengals in Cincinnati, here’s what you should expect.

Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds

So far this season, the Cleveland Browns are underperforming and the Cincinnati Bengals are overperforming, at least when it comes to expectations heading into the year. You get the feeling that something is off this season in Cleveland. While they’ve kept plenty of games close so far, a blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals and last week’s heartbreaker against the Pittsburgh Steelers show this might be a team that’s not ready for primetime. The Bengals, meanwhile, have had some big wins over the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings while only losing games by three points thus far.

Coming off a tough loss, I’m going with Cincy in this one. I simply don’t trust this current Browns squad to be able to knock off quality opponents, and the Bengals have shown me much more in their 5-3 run. Cleveland will put pressure on the Bengals and quarterback Joe Burrow, but it won’t be enough to hold back one of the most surprising teams of 2021. Lay the points with the home favorite here.

My predictions: Bengals win 28-20, Bengals -3, over 47 points

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, September 7
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, OH
TV Coverage: CBS

Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals Live Stream

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Injuries

Cleveland Browns: CB Denzel Ward (hamstring) Q, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) Q, S Richard LeCounte III (non-injury related) Q, DE Takkarist McKinley (groin) Q, CB A.J. Green (groin) Q, S John Johnson III (neck) Q, OT Jack Conklin (elbow) O, C Nick Harris (hamstring) IR
Cincinnati Bengals: WR Auden Tate (thigh) Q, RB Chris Evans (hamstring) Q, G Jackson Carman (ankle) Q

Cleveland Browns Analysis

I had so much hope for the Cleveland Browns going into this season. The team’s huge leap last season was fun to watch from start to finish, and it gave fans the feeling that this will be a competitive squad for years to come. But, with Week 9 approaching, the team desperately needs to make some changes or it’ll be the same old story in Cleveland. Getting healthy is key for the Browns right now, but they’ve still got four games until they hit the bye week.

The passing game is a major concern right now. In a league where passing prowess can make a huge difference, Baker Mayfield just isn’t keeping up. The fourth-year QB is ranked low in most major passing categories, such as yards, touchdowns, and QBR. The running game is key for the Browns, but they’ll still need to be able to get the ball downfield through the air if they want to compete in the AFC. Mayfield is still having issues finding a strong connection with his receivers, emphasized by his one pass for six yards to Odell Beckham Jr. last Sunday. Considering Beckham Jr. was supposed to be the top pass catcher in Cleveland, that’s not going to cut it.

If nothing else, the Cleveland defense has been holding teams back on paper. The team is fielding the third-ranked defensive unit in the league, allowing just 304.9 yards per game. The MVP on the defensive side of the ball is definitely DE Myles Garrett, who has totaled 10.5 sacks on the season already. He’s gotten to the opposing QB in six straight games, and he’s making a real case for Defensive Player of the Year.

Cleveland Browns Depth Chart

QB: Baker Mayfield
RB1: Nick Chubb
RB2: D’Ernest Johnson
WR1: Jarvis Landry
WR2: Rashard Higgins
WR3: Odell Beckham Jr.
TE1: David Njoku

Cincinnati Bengals Analysis

I was one of the (probably) many that believed the Cincinnati Bengals would fall flat on their face this season and let go of head coach Zac Taylor early in the season. However, the team’s already eclipsed their win total from last year and appears to be on the rise. Last Sunday’s loss is going to sting, but the team’s shown enough so far that they can bounce back. 

Quarterback Joe Burrow is having a major comeback season after last year was lost due to a knee injury. The former LSU star has tossed three TDs in three straight game, and it’s looking like the team will sink or swim at times with his arm. He’s formed a strong connection with his former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase, who’s averaging 98.3 yards per game and has found the end zone seven times already. RB Joe Mixon completes Cincy’s offensive trio, with 572 rush yards and five TDs.

The defense might hold back the Bengals as the season rolls on. The rushing defense itself is fine, but the secondary is a big issue right now. The team’s allowing 266.9 passing yards per game, ranking 23rd in the league. That’s not sustainable in an AFC with plenty of explosive passing offenses. The good news is the Bengals are getting to the quarterback, totaling 21 sacks thanks in part to DE Trey Hendrickson (7.5 sacks).

Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

QB: Joe Burrow
RB1: Joe Mixon
RB2: Samaje Perine
WR1: Ja’Marr Chase
WR2: Tyler Boyd
WR3: Tee Higgins
TE1: C.J. Uzomah

Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals Daily Fantasy Picks

Although I’d stay far away from the Cleveland receivers for now, I’m liking the targets for Cincy. Namely, I’m big on tight end C.J. Uzomah this week. He’s found the end zone five times already, and he’s going to have plenty of opportunities this week with Burrow playing at a high level. Uzomah is only listed at $3,900 on DraftKings, so he’s the ideal value pick for this slate of NFL games.

Week 9 Matchup Previews
  • Patriots @ Falcons
  • Colts @ Bills
  • Ravens @ Bears
  • Lions @ Browns
  • Texans @ Titans
  • Vikings @ Packers
  • Dolphins @ Jets
  • Saints @ Eagles
  • Washington @ Panthers
  • 49ers @ Jaguars
  • Bengals @ Raiders
  • Cowboys @ Chiefs
  • Cardinals @ Seahawks
  • Steelers @ Chargers
  • Giants @ Buccaneers
Anthony Elio is a professional writer based in Denver, CO. While he’s written about everything from video games to couponing in the past, he’s set his sights on sports betting. He also plays drums in the Denver rock band Television Generation.

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