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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns preview

The Cleveland Browns can give the Cincinnati Bengals a fright in Monday's night's Halloween clash at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Bengals, who have lost seven of the last eight Battle of Ohio clashes, seem to have been spooked by the sight of their AFC North rivals in recent years.

But the Browns will need to brush off the cobwebs of a four-game losing skid that means another defeat within the division becomes a graveyard for their playoff aspirations.

Cleveland are currently haunted by injuries in their secondary and face some nightmare match-ups against Cincinnati's trio of wide receivers on the banks of Lake Eerie.

WhatCincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
WhereFirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
When01:15, Tuesday 1st November 2022
How to watchSky Sports NFL, NFL Game Pass, Channel 5 & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsCIN Bengals 10/17, CLE Browns 6/4

Browns season is going south

It's all gone wrong for the Browns since they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to go 2-1 in Week 3, although three of the four defeats Kevin Stefanski's men have suffered since have been by three points or fewer.

Apart from one bad second-half display against the New England Patriots, Cleveland have been competitive in each game they have played this season and should not be discounted from producing a shock.

After directing an offensive debacle during week five, Brissett threw for 258 passing yards, and delivered 121 of those in the first quarter of last week's 23-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but he also did not manage any touchdown throws.

His position remains as a placeholder for big-money trade acquisition Deshaun Watson, who is eligible to make his debut against the Texans in Week 13.

Until then, Brissett has to try and eke out as many wins as possible to keep Cleveland in the hunt for a wild card berth.

Chubb checks the boxes

As the trade deadline approaches, the Browns have so far refused to entertain offers for Kareen Hunt, the running back who gives them - along with Nick Chubb - the best one-two backfield punch in the NFL.

But reports claim they would take a fourth-round pick for the 27-year-old, who has rushed for 263 yards and three touchdowns, while also hauling in 15 receptions for 87 yards and a score this season, which could limit his role if he is active this week.

The Bengals should expect to see a big dose of Chubb, who will be looking for his third game in a row against a division foe with 100 or more scrimmage yards and a rushing score, on the ground.

They have won both games in which he has carried the ball 20 times or more and lost all five when he has had fewer than 20 touches on the ground.

Chess partners pawns in the passing game

Cleveland's top two receivers, Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, will go up against a solid Cincinnati secondary led by top cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie looks set to take on the job of covering his ex-Dallas Cowboys team-mate and chess opponent Cooper in a mouthwatering match-up that could define the contest.

More likely, however, is the fact that Cleveland's banged-up secondary will struggle to contain Cincy's receiving duo of Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, who are each coming off hot games against Atlanta.

Alongside the injured Ja'Marr Chase, they combined for 378 of Joe Burrow's 481 passing yards on a day when the Bengals' QB became just the third player ever with 475-plus passing yards, three or more TD passes and a rushing touchdown in a single game.

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Garrett will look to get home against Burrow

Burrow's ability to shake off big hits given up by a porous offensive line and keep on making plays has been remarkable, as the former first overall pick - who was sacked 70 times in the regular season and playoffs last year - has already been taken down 24 times in seven games.

Myles Garrett, who has registered three sacks in the last two games, will be licking his chops at the prospect off adding more, having hot to Burrow at least once in each of the last three matchups against the Bengals.

Only Tampa Bay have a higher passing play ratio than Cincinnati in the last few weeks and they are unlikely to deviate from that approach too much here with RB Joe Mixon offering them just 3.3 yards per carry on 17 attempts last week.

Underdogs can leave Bengals howling in pain

And that may be why the Browns can shock the favoured Bengals in this home game as they have proven well capable of slowing down Cincy's high-powered offense in the past, keeping it off the field with their grinding running game.

Burrow had one of his worst games of last season against this Browns and has never won a start against them.

The value could therefore lie with the hosts to cover the +3.0 Spread at 1/1 to maintain their creepy hex over their division rivals.

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