Dr. Bob Previews CLEVELAND (+5.5) Vs. CINCINNATI
The Brady Quinn era ended pretty quickly in Cleveland, as the Browns' Quinn-led offense has averaged just 3.9 yards per play. Cleveland has played 3 teams that are good defensively (Minnesota, Denver and Baltimore), but those are bad numbers even when you take that into account.
Derek Anderson takes over and should be better, but Anderson has not been able to back up his very good 2007 season. Anderson has averaged just 5.1 yards per pass play in 11 games since the beginning of last season and that's where I'll rate him heading into this game.
The Browns have to face another good defense this week, as Cincinnati has allowed just 5.2 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.6 yppl against an average defensive team. Cincy has been about average offensively so far (5.1 yppl against teams that would allow 5.1 yppl to an average team) but the Bengals' attack should thrive against a sub-par Browns' defense that can't stop the run (5.6 ypr allowed) and has been worse than average against the pass too (6.8 yppp allowed to quarterbacks that would combine to average 6.4 yppp).
My ratings favor Cincinnati by 7 points and using this year's games only (and adjusting for Anderson at QB for Cleveland) results in a prediction of Bengals by 8 points.
There are good situations favoring both teams in this game, so I'll stick to the math and lean with Cincy minus the points.
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