Cleveland Browns will host Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday’s action of the NFL 2021 Week 18. The home side lost its playoffs chances after suffering a defeat in the latest round. The visitors still can secure seed No. 1 ahead of the post-season battles, and they won’t give up on that chance.
Cleveland has been in poor form lately, and that ruined their post-season bid. Nevertheless, the hosts want to wrap up this campaign with a win on the home field. On the other hand, the away side has already secured the division top spot. However, Cincinnati looks forward to challenging a better seed ahead of the playoffs.
Cleveland Browns – Can they bounce back in the season’s final match?
The Browns had a strong start to the campaign, but as the season passed, their performance declined. They booked just one win in the previous five rounds and lost all chances to enter the Lombardi trophy battles. Cleveland slipped to the bottom of the AFC North with a 7-9 record and switched places with their upcoming rivals. The Browns’ latest defeat came against the Steelers on the road, where they gained only 232 yards in the offense, turning the ball over twice.
Baker Mayfield has passed for 3,010 yards so far, with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, while he has been sacked 43 times. Nick Chubb has dominated the rushing department with 1,201 yards and eight TDs, while D’Ernest Johnson and Kareem Hunt have combined for 797 rushing yards and seven scores. Donovan Peoples-Jones has been the Browns’ leading receiver with 559 yards and three touchdown receptions, while Jarvis Landry and David Njoku generated 460+ receiving yards each. On the other hand, Anthony Walker has been Cleveland’s best defender with 106 total tackles, while Myles Garrett sacked the rival quarterbacks 15 times.
Expected Line-Up (Offense): D’Ernest Johnson, Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins, Austin Hooper, Andy Janovich, Jedrick Wills Jr., Joel Bitonio, JC Tretter, Wyatt Teller, James Hudson III
Expected Line-Up (Defense): Myles Garrett, Malik Jackson, Malik McDowell, Jadeveon Clowney, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Anthony Walker, Willie Harvey Jr., A.J. Green, Grant Delpit, M.J. Stewart Jr., Greg Newsome II
Quarter Back: Case Keenum
Kicker: Chase McLaughlin
with best odds
Cincinnati Bengals – Will they book another victory?
A three-game winning streak launched the Bengals to the top of the AFC North standings with a 10-6 record, and they managed to clinch a playoffs ticket. They still have a chance to secure the number one seed position, but those are very slim. Cincinnati heads to this match after beating the Chiefs in a very thrilling encounter that ended with a 34-31 scoreline. They managed to gain 475 yards in the offense thanks to Joe Burrow, who had an excellent game, throwing for 446 yards and four touchdowns.
Burrow has gone 4,611 yards through the air so far, with 34 TDs and 14 interceptions, while he has been sacked 54 times. Joe Mixon leads Cincinnati’s ground game with 1,205 yards and 13 scores, while Samaje Perine and Joe Burrow have combined for 364 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have been dominant in the Bengals receiving department with a combined 2,520 yards and 19 touchdown receptions. Tyler Boyd has also been very productive in this area, generating 828 receiving yards and five scores. On the other hand, Logan Wilson has 100 total tackles, while Trey Hendrickson logged 14 sacks.
Expected Line-Up (Offense): Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, C.J. Uzomah, Jonah Williams, D’Ante Smith, Trey Hopkins, Hakeem Adeniji, Isaiah Prince
Expected Line-Up (Defense): Sam Hubbard, D.J. Reader, Larry Ogunjobi, Trey Hendrickson, Logan Wilson, Clay Johnston, Markus Bailey, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Jessie Bates III, Chidobe Awuzie
Quarter Back: Brandon Allen
Kicker: Evan McPherson
Expert Pick #1 – Cleveland Browns -5.5 @-110
The main reason for backing the hosts in this matchup is the fact that many Bengals’ starting players are listed out or questionable for this game. Despite having a chance to secure the first seed, the visitors might rest their leading players. Therefore, Cleveland might end its poor run and wrap up the season with a win. I’ll take them as the first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 38 @-110
Although the visitors might miss a lot of players, I don’t see why this match wouldn’t go over a 38 margin. The Under has been very common in both teams’ recent games, but the margin here is pretty low, and I believe these two sides will produce more than 38 points. That’s going to be my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Browns Over 22.5 @-110
Baker Mayfield is out for this clash, but still, the Browns might score more than 22 points in this game. Cleveland managed to do that in seven straight games against Cincinnati, and I continue that tradition to continue. It’s going to be my second alternative for this matchup.