Matchup Analysis: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Bengals 19, Browns 26

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Cincinnati Bengals Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Bengals Offense24.1 (+0.6) (14)104 (-10) (23)222 (-17) (23)
Browns Defense24.9 (+1.4) (22)126 (+11) (24)275 (+35) (30)

Cleveland Browns Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Browns Offense22.1 (-1.4) (19)121 (+6) (13)235 (-5) (16)
Bengals Defense29.5 (+6.1) (31)142 (+27) (29)271 (+31) (29)

Bengals Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Browns defense.

On the season, the Bengals are the 26th most run-heavy team (37.4%). However, the full season stats don’t reflect the current reality of the offense. With A.J. Green and Andy Dalton out the last two weeks, the Bengals have decided to build the offense around Joe Mixon and the run game. Mixon set his career high in carries (26) in Week 14 only to set a new career high (27) in last week’s win over Oakland. Mixon rushed for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Raiders in a game the Bengals controlled from start to finish. As long as the game stays close this week, expect another heavy dose of Mixon. The Bengals run blocking has been solid enough for the Bengals to average an efficient 4.6 yards per carry (11th-best) this season but it may be tougher sledding the final two weeks. The injuries that have decimated the passing offense will likely allow teams to stack the box and dare the Bengals to beat them through the air.

The Browns have given up the 9th-most rushing yards (126.1 per game) and have also allowed the 2nd-most rushing touchdowns (1.3 per game). The defense has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, though. The Browns smothered the Broncos running game last week, holding Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman to a total of 31 rushing yards on 18 carries. In Week 14, Cleveland held Christian McCaffrey to just 63 yards on 13 carries. The Browns allowed 89 yards on just 14 carries (6.4 yards per carry) to Joe Mixon in the Week 12 meeting. With the Bengals newfound commitment to the run, Cleveland will need to hold up better this time around. The issue continues to be that the defensive line is allowing too many defenders to get up-field and the Browns have a talent deficiency at the linebacker position as rookie Genard Avery has really struggled and been susceptible against the run.

Bengals Passing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Browns defense.

Injuries have decimated the Bengals offense. Not only is starting quarterback Andy Dalton on injured reserve, but Cincinnati’s top three pass catchers (A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and Tyler Eifert) are all sidelined as well. Jeff Driskel was solid in his first start, throwing for 236 yards in a loss to Denver, but there is only so much he can do with limited talent around him as he has averaged just 150 passing yards over his last two. As a starter, Driskel is averaging just 5.5 yards per attempt. He had his worst performance last week, with way too many throws off target in a dreadful 14-for-33 performance against the Raiders. Driskel’s few positive plays came mostly on first-half passes to Tyler Boyd. Boyd injured his knee midway through the game and is likely done for the season. In his absence, the Bengals will run out one of the league’s worst groups of receivers led by John Ross who is the top remaining target but he has been unreliable. The second-year pro has caught just 38% of his career targets and is averaging just 4.1 receiving yards per target. Alex Erickson and Cody Core have been special teams stalwarts but will be forced into the starting lineup over the last two weeks. In addition to the lack of quality targets to throw to, Driskel will also have to play behind a poor offensive line that has allowed the 8th-highest sack rate in the league.

Cleveland’s defense has faced a league-high 41.6 passing attempts per game and rank 30th in yardage, allowing 275.1 passing yards per game, but that does not tell the entire story. While the Browns have given up a lot of passing yards, their one strength is having allowed very few touchdowns through the air. Since giving up a pair of passing touchdowns to Cincinnati in Week 12, the Browns have allowed just one passing touchdown total over the last three weeks. Cleveland is finally starting to figure out how best to use some of the talented young athletes they’ve been able to add in the early rounds of the past few drafts. Recent top picks Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward both made their first Pro Bowls this week. Safety Jabrill Peppers has also started to make an impact since the Browns decided to move him closer to the line of scrimmage. He was one of the stars of Cleveland’s Week 15 win over Denver, getting pressure on the quarterback four times on blitzes and sacking Case Keenum on fourth down in the final minute to seal the victory. The Browns will have favorable matchups across the board in the secondary given the Bengals will be unlikely to take advantage of the matchup due to all of the injuries the Bengals have suffered at wide receiver.

Browns Rushing offense

Great matchup vs. the Bengals defense.

The Browns running game has been above-average this season, ranking 11th in yards per carry (4.6) and 13th in rushing yards (121.2 per game). Rookie Nick Chubb has been excellent, averaging 5.2 yards per carry on the season. He has proven capable of handling a huge workload but has seen a decrease in both his snaps (under 60%) and carries (13 per game) over the last three weeks as the team is looking to conserve him a little bit. Chubb’s 100 rushing yards last week were his most since Week 10, with 53 of the yards coming in the final five minutes. Cleveland was able to jump out to a big early lead in their previous meeting with Cincinnati and then bled the clock with Chubb carrying it 28 times. The Browns productivity in the running game is due to strong play from the interior of the offensive line, where guards Joel Bitonio and Kevin Zeitler were both named Pro Bowl alternates this season. The Browns are touchdown favorites at home and another early lead would likely mean a heavy dose of Chubb.

It has been a rough season for the Cincinnati defense. The Bengals have allowed the 4th-most rushing yards and 5th-most rushing touchdowns this season. The run defense has shown real signs of improvement over the last two weeks, though. Cincinnati gave up just 68 rushing yards to the Raiders last week and 85 rushing yards to the Chargers in Week 14. The Bengals certainly benefitted from opponent injuries, with Oakland missing a pair of starting linemen and Los Angeles playing without Melvin Gordon. However, the improved performance has also coincided with some lineup changes and this might not be a terrible run defense anymore. The biggest change has been the return of Nick Vigil. He missed six weeks in the middle of the season but has provided a big boost since his return in Week 12. The Bengals have also received strong play from recently signed defensive tackle Christian Ringo, who played a season-high 58% of the snaps last week. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ran for just 84 yards on 28 carries (3.0 yards per carry) in the Browns Week 12 victory. This is still a very positive matchup for the Browns this week.

Browns Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Bengals defense.

The Browns passing offense had been middling, ranking 17th in yards per game (234.6) and 21st in yards per attempt (6.6). The passing offense had shown signs of improvement after Freddie Kitchens was promoted to offensive coordinator midseason, especially in back-to-back wins over Atlanta and Cincinnati in Weeks 10 and 11. However, the passing offense has regressed a bit in recent weeks. Baker Mayfield has had an excellent rookie season but had uncharacteristic struggles with accuracy at times against a tough Broncos defense. Mayfield threw for just 188 yards, his lowest total since Week 8. Rookie Antonio Callaway was the most impactful receiver, catching 5 of 7 targets for 35 yards and 1 touchdown. Callaway was also solid in the previous meeting against the Bengals, with 4 catches for 62 yards and 1 touchdown.

Cincinnati has allowed the 5th-most passing yards (270.6) and rank 28th, allowing 7.6 yards per attempt. The overall numbers are ugly primarily due to a brutal early stretch that saw the Bengals allow 350 or more passing yards five times in the first eight games. The pass defense has been much improved in the second half of the season. No opposing quarterback has thrown for more than 265 yards against the Bengals since Week 8. The improvement has largely come due to schematic changes. Cincinnati was suffering way too many blown coverages in a zone-heavy scheme under first-year coordinator Teryl Austin. He was fired after Week 10 and Marvin Lewis stepped in as the defensive coordinator. He has simplified the scheme and allowed the Bengals talented trio of first-round cornerbacks (William Jackson III, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Darqueze Dennard) to play man-to-man coverage much more often. Since Lewis took over the defense, the Bengals are allowing just 208.4 passing yards per game but did allow Mayfield and the Browns to throw for four touchdowns in their first meeting this season.

Browns vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)19 (+0.6)19 (+0.6)18 (+0.1)18 (+0.4)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)20 (+1.3)20 (+1.3)21 (+1.3)19 (+0.6)
12Jeff Driskel4417291551039118.718.717.117.1
13Deshaun Watson76223122410730018.
14Cam Newton73264226501523014.614.611.911.9
15Case Keenum7331482570221117.017.014.414.4

Jeff Driskel (FanDuel: $6600, DraftKings: $4600)

13vs DEN6825372361133015.115.110.711.7
14@ LAC67182717010212013.713.712.012.0
15vs OAK80143313011732012.712.711.411.4
16PROJ-Dodds21352331.212110. (H=41)17.2 (H=60)
16PROJ-Tremblay22362291.31.12110. (H=41)17.2 (H=60)
16PROJ-Bloom17261420.70.85210.212.412.412.4 (H=23)12.4 (H=34)

Browns vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)24 (+2.5)25 (+2.3)24 (+2.3)25 (+2.7)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)7 (-3.4)9 (-3.4)9 (-3.2)9 (-3.2)
12Joe Mixon53148907766015.522.519.022.5
12Giovani Bernard231100111202.
13Lamar Miller411910301112011.512.512.015.5
13Alfred Blue361354000005.
14Christian McCaffrey74166327638022.
14Cameron Artis-Payne115000000.
15Phillip Lindsay3914240642004.
15Devontae Booker15000321701.

Joe Mixon (FanDuel: $8200, DraftKings: $7100)

13vs DEN3912820221309.511.510.511.5
14@ LAC472611116527019.824.822.327.8
15vs OAK522712924210252726.030.0
16PROJ-Dodds17720.53230. (H=25)16.1 (H=34)
16PROJ-Tremblay16740.43220.112.615.614.1 (H=23)15.6 (H=32)
16PROJ-Bloom20770.54220.113.517.515.5 (H=28)17.5 (H=40)

Giovani Bernard (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3900)

13vs DEN285140863204.610.67.610.6
14@ LAC2537022130243.04.0
15vs OAK30670222503.
16PROJ-Dodds3140.131903.96.95.4 (H=7)6.9 (H=14)
16PROJ-Tremblay3130.131803.76.75.2 (H=7)6.7 (H=13)
16PROJ-Bloom00021801.83.82.8 (H=2)3.8 (H=5)

Browns vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)20 (+1.0)26 (+3.1)22 (+1.6)24 (+2.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14 (-1.7)20 (+1.7)18 (+0.0)19 (+0.9)
12Tyler Boyd728785100014.521.518.021.5
12John Ross68733110009.112.110.612.1
13DeAndre Hopkins751279100009.116.112.616.1
13Demaryius Thomas60533200003.
14Curtis Samuel69848000008.
14D.J. Moore67856701006.711.79.211.7
15Tim Patrick51856500006.511.59.011.5
15DaeSean Hamilton721274600004.611.68.111.6

John Ross (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $3800)

13vs DEN60321301201.
14@ LAC60421110007.
15vs OAK7351601300.
16PROJ-Dodds4520.40007.611.69.6 (H=18)11.6 (H=36)
16PROJ-Tremblay4490.40207.511.59.5 (H=18)11.5 (H=36)
16PROJ-Bloom3320.3000586.5 (H=9)8.0 (H=19)

Cody Core (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3500)

13vs DEN35413010009109.510.0
14@ LAC3343300000364.56.0
15vs OAK5141100000121.52.0
16PROJ-Dodds3390.20005.18.16.6 (H=11)8.1 (H=21)
16PROJ-Tremblay4540.30007.211.29.2 (H=19)11.2 (H=37)
16PROJ-Bloom2200.10002.64.63.6 (H=3)4.6 (H=8)

Alex Erickson (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3300)

13vs DEN511201000.21.2-1.30.2
14@ LAC20000011401.
15vs OAK36532300002.
16PROJ-Dodds3310.20004.37.36.0 (H=9)7.5 (H=19)
16PROJ-Tremblay3370.20205.18.16.8 (H=12)8.3 (H=23)
16PROJ-Bloom3230.10002.95.94.6 (H=6)6.1 (H=13)

Tyler Boyd (FanDuel: $6700, DraftKings: $5800)

13vs DEN66869700009.715.712.715.7
14@ LAC64635200005.
15vs OAK39543810009.813.811.813.8
16PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
16PROJ-Tremblay0500000.50.50.5 (H=0)0.5 (H=0)
16PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Browns vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+1.2)29 (+3.0)23T (+2.0)29 (+3.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+0.5)24 (+2.5)23 (+1.6)24 (+2.4)
12C.J. Uzomah741363903.
13Jordan Thomas40333219.212.210.712.2
14Ian Thomas611197707.716.712.216.7
15Matt LaCosse68644304.

C.J. Uzomah (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3300)

13vs DEN67753303.
14@ LAC58333703.
15vs OAK69512702.
16PROJ-Dodds4400. (H=14)9.8 (H=31)
16PROJ-Tremblay4360. (H=11)8.8 (H=26)
16PROJ-Bloom3270. (H=6)6.3 (H=14)

Browns vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+0.7)25 (+0.7)25 (+0.8) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)29 (+2.6)29 (+2.6)30 (+3.3) (+0.0)
12Randy Bullock0123222.02.0
13Kaimi Fairbairn5522171721.021.0
14Chandler Catanzaro2222888.08.0
15Brandon McManus3311101012.012.0

Randy Bullock (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

13vs DEN1111444.04.0
14@ LAC33009911.011.0
15vs OAK3333121212.012.0

Browns vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)19T (+0.3)19T (+0.3)19 (+0.5)19 (+0.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)19 (+0.2)19 (+0.2)13 (-0.6)13 (-0.6)
12Cincinnati Bengals353420000000-4.0-4.0
13Houston Texans1342803101141418.018.0
14Carolina Panthers2634810200555.05.0
15Denver Broncos1730921100667.07.0

Cincinnati Bengals (FanDuel: $3500, DraftKings: $2200)

13vs DEN24.0036120100444.04.0
14@ LAC26.0028820000222.02.0
15vs OAK16.00297502009910.010.0
16PROJ-Dodds25.403732.110.500.3777.0 (H=16)7.0 (H=26)
16PROJ-Tremblay26.253782.110.400. (H=14)6.5 (H=23)

Bengals vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+3.9)31T (+4.0)32 (+3.8)32 (+4.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)13 (-0.5)14 (-0.3)16 (-0.5)13 (-0.9)
12Baker Mayfield641926258404-4028.528.525.925.9
13Case Keenum5912211511029012.512.510.910.9
14Philip Rivers5719292201027015.715.713.513.5
15Derek Carr5921382631000016.317.312.113.6

Baker Mayfield (FanDuel: $7700, DraftKings: $6100)

13@ HOU5729433971300020.920.916.919.9
14vs CAR5218222381042016.116.113.713.7
15@ DEN67183118821460171713.114.1
16PROJ-Dodds21342631.713120.120.820.820.8 (H=49)20.8 (H=62)
16PROJ-Tremblay20332441.614140.119.619.619.6 (H=44)19.6 (H=56)
16PROJ-Bloom17262171.70.6330.1181818.0 (H=38)18.0 (H=48)

Bengals vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+6.3)31 (+6.3)32 (+6.3)32 (+6.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+4.8)25 (+3.9)26 (+3.6)24 (+3.5)
12Nick Chubb46288413344124.827.826.327.8
12Duke Johnson182160212303.
13Phillip Lindsay25191572112027.928.928.431.9
13Royce Freeman211248000004.
14Austin Ekeler39156615228015.417.416.417.4
14Justin Jackson217120222303.
15Jalen Richard30490656707.612.68.111.6
15Doug Martin27939010003.

Nick Chubb (FanDuel: $7900, DraftKings: $7300)

13@ HOU2793113341013.216.214.716.2
14vs CAR33136616417014.318.316.318.3
15@ DEN402010001000101010.013.0
16PROJ-Dodds221010.92200. (H=41)20.1 (H=49)
16PROJ-Tremblay221060.92140.1182019.0 (H=41)20.0 (H=49)
16PROJ-Bloom229212140.217.819.818.8 (H=40)19.8 (H=48)

Duke Johnson (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3800)

13@ HOU20000321201.
14vs CAR182-600000-0.6-0.6-0.6-0.6
15@ DEN264280542505.
16PROJ-Dodds3130.13240. (H=10)7.9 (H=18)
16PROJ-Tremblay2100.12210. (H=7)6.3 (H=12)
16PROJ-Bloom2702140. (H=4)4.7 (H=7)

Dontrell Hilliard (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3300)

13@ HOU1200044400486.08.0
14vs CAR400022200243.04.0
15@ DEN20000000000.00.0
16PROJ-Dodds0001800.81.81.4 (H=0)1.9 (H=1)
16PROJ-Tremblay0001600.61.61.2 (H=0)1.7 (H=1)

Bengals vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)12 (-0.0)14 (+0.3)17 (+0.9)16 (+1.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8 (-3.7)9 (-5.1)8 (-4.4)8 (-5.9)
12Antonio Callaway385462100012.
12Jarvis Landry39533000003.
13Courtland Sutton417485100014.518.516.518.5
13Emmanuel Sanders40641900001.
14Keenan Allen549578110013.818.816.318.8
14Mike Williams29634500004.
15Jordy Nelson57868800008.814.811.814.8
15Seth Roberts40432901-

Jarvis Landry (FanDuel: $6300, DraftKings: $6200)

13@ HOU4696103000010.316.313.319.3
14vs CAR4243571254123.126.122.625.1
15@ DEN57833700003.
16PROJ-Dodds5590.30007.712.710.2 (H=17)12.7 (H=26)
16PROJ-Tremblay4520.30107.111.19.1 (H=14)11.1 (H=20)
16PROJ-Bloom3410.4160.17.710.79.2 (H=14)10.7 (H=19)

Antonio Callaway (FanDuel: $5100, DraftKings: $3900)

13@ HOU41638400008.411.47.910.4
14vs CAR381100000010.51.0
15@ DEN49753510009.514.512.014.5
16PROJ-Dodds3400.30005.88.87.3 (H=12)8.8 (H=22)
16PROJ-Tremblay3390.30005.78.77.2 (H=11)8.7 (H=21)
16PROJ-Bloom3330.30005.18.16.6 (H=10)8.1 (H=19)

Rashard Higgins (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3400)

13@ HOU334462100012.
14vs CAR26321900001.
15@ DEN3032300000354.05.0
16PROJ-Dodds2320.20004.46.45.4 (H=7)6.4 (H=14)
16PROJ-Tremblay2320.20004.46.45.4 (H=7)6.4 (H=14)
16PROJ-Bloom2370.20004.96.95.9 (H=9)6.9 (H=16)

Breshad Perriman (FanDuel: $5100, DraftKings: $3200)

13@ HOU26222600002.
14vs CAR19228100008.
15@ DEN28213110009.110.19.610.1
16PROJ-Dodds2290.20004.16.15.1 (H=6)6.1 (H=14)
16PROJ-Tremblay2270.20204.16.15.1 (H=6)6.1 (H=14)
16PROJ-Bloom2350.10004.16.15.1 (H=6)6.1 (H=14)

Damion Ratley (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

13@ HOU711200000.
14vs CAR20000000000.00.0
15@ DEN10000000000.00.0
16PROJ-Dodds1700000.71.71.2 (H=0)1.7 (H=1)
16PROJ-Tremblay1800000.81.81.3 (H=0)1.8 (H=1)
16PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Bengals vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)28 (+2.1)27T (+2.7)29 (+2.3)24T (+2.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)24 (+2.1)20 (+0.6)22 (+1.4)20 (+0.5)
12David Njoku435563112.317.314.817.3
13Matt LaCosse4710000.
14Antonio Gates23221901.
15Darren Waller9114406.

David Njoku (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $3800)

13@ HOU4663800.
14vs CAR43433503.
15@ DEN5653300364.56.0
16PROJ-Dodds4400. (H=13)9.8 (H=27)
16PROJ-Tremblay4370. (H=12)9.5 (H=25)
16PROJ-Bloom3430. (H=14)9.7 (H=26)

Bengals vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27T (+1.9)27T (+1.9)32 (+2.4) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+2.1)27 (+2.1)28 (+2.8) (+0.0)
12Greg Joseph0055555.05.0
13Brandon McManus1233666.06.0
14Mike Badgley4422141417.017.0
15Daniel Carlson3311101013.013.0

Greg Joseph (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

13@ HOU0011111.01.0
14vs CAR22238810.010.0
15@ DEN1122556.06.0

Bengals vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-1.4)6 (-1.4)14 (-0.8)14 (-0.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)15 (-0.8)15 (-0.8)14T (-0.3)14T (-0.3)
12Cleveland Browns2037211100558.08.0
13Denver Broncos1031141200101014.014.0
14Los Angeles Chargers2129530000333.03.0
15Oakland Raiders3029411000332.02.0

Cleveland Browns (FanDuel: $4400, DraftKings: $3000)

13@ HOU29.0038440000444.04.0
14vs CAR20.0039311000334.04.0
15@ DEN16.0027022000667.07.0
16PROJ-Dodds19.003252.41.10.700.510.510.510.5 (H=26)10.5 (H=39)
16PROJ-Tremblay19.253372.31.10.800.510.610.610.6 (H=27)10.6 (H=39)