Thursday Night Football: Bengals vs. Browns Preview and Prediction

The 7-0 Cincinnati Bengals are already in the midst of their best start in franchise history, and they're looking to stay undefeated against the 2-6 Cleveland Browns. Johnny Manziel gets the start against a Bengal defense that has yet to allow more than 24 points in any game this season. So will the Bengals stay perfect? Or will the Browns pull the upset? Here's our preview and prediction. 

Line: Bengals by 11.5

What's At Stake: 

The Bengals don't need to win this game to be a playoff team; they already look like one. However, this is the type of game that the Bengals have struggled in with Andy Dalton at QB. He's just 3-9 in prime time games, with as many TDs as INTs. It's a chance for the Bengals to prove to themselves, and everyone else, that this year's team is different. If the Bengals lose, old doubts will resurface. As for the Browns, they need a game in which they don't fall apart late. It's another showcase game for Johnny Manziel, who has been unable to unseat Josh McCown as the starting QB. He struggled mighty against the Bengals the last time he suited up against Cincinnati, and he'll need to play much better this time around. 

Key To The Game: 

The Bengals and Browns are on two opposite ends of the turnover spectrum. The Bengals have a +4 turnover margin, good enough for sixth in the NFL. Cleveland holds a -4, seventh worse in the NFL. That gives the Bengals a big advantage on paper. For the Browns to pull the upset, they'll need to hold on to the ball and force Dalton into a bad game. If the Browns can't win the turnover battle, they are in trouble. 

What They Are Saying About The Cincinnati Bengals:

Inside The Improvements Of Andy Dalton

Bengals Try To Turn Short Week Into History

No Joe Haden Should Mean Big Day For A.J. Green

What They Are Saying About The Cleveland Browns:

More Uncertainty For Cleveland

Manziel Aims To Show Progress

Will The Browns Win Again This Season?

Prediction: Bengals Win 30-21

It's closer than Vegas predicts, but that's mostly because 11.5 points is a large spread for an NFL game. However, the Bengals win this one comfortably. Dalton plays well, and avoids the turnovers that have plagued him during prime time games. Manziel plays better, but still turns the ball over too often and can't give the Browns a win. With the win, the Bengals improve to 8-0 and are in great position for a bye in the playoffs. 

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Related Topics: Josh McCown, Bengals News, Johnny Manziel, Andy Dalton, Browns News