The NFL season rolls into week 2 with the battle of Ohio. This week on Thursday Night Football, the Cincinnati Bengals are scheduled to line up against the Cleveland Browns. Both teams are looking to put week 1 in the rear-view mirror after taking losses to the Los Angeles Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens, respectively.

Ohio just hasn’t had any luck in recent NFL seasons, and this season kicked off much the same way as in years past. They’ve each drafted the player they expect to be their franchise quarterback in the last two years. They each have a superstar wideout and a semi-superstar number two receiver.

Whether either Ohio team will be able to put it together this season remains to be seen, but we’ll be one step closer to finding out on Thursday. Don’t miss kickoff at 8:20 ET on NFL Network.

The Real Joe Exotic

Joe Burrow nearly led the Bengals to victory late in the fourth quarter on Sunday. If not for a missed field goal, the young quarterback could add a game-winning, or at least tying, drive to his resume already. Unfortunately for the Bengals, their faithful, and their bettors, that isn’t how the end of the game played out. 

Burrow and the Bengals lost their first game of 2020 by a final score of 16-13. Not quite the offensive performance that Bengals fans wanted in week 1, but it’s a start. Burrow completed 23 of his 36 passes for 173 yards. The more significant performance on offense came in the form of their rushing attack, which finished with 122 yards.

When your defense allows over 150 rushing yards, and just over 200 yards passing, that’s a game the offense should take over and win. We will have to see how Burrow and the boys fare against a Browns defense that allowed 377 of total offense against the Ravens last week.

Cleveland on the Rocks

Browns fans trick themselves into thinking that this will be their year, every single season. With their defense, the last two seasons, I thought they were right.

Don’t count the Browns out just yet though, they’re certainly talented enough to leave their mark on this season. They badly need their QB one to step up. Baker Mayfield has to prove he’s NFL starter worthy this season.

Mayfield finished game 1 with 168 passing yards. He went 21 for 39 with one touchdown and one interception. Not the breakout performance that Cleveland wanted to see. Even more alarming, Mayfield attempted 10 passes to Odell Beckham Jr., only 3 made their way into Beckham’s hands. His accuracy must improve.

Last Sunday, the Browns leading receiver was Beckham’s former college running mate and best friend, Jarvis Landry. Landry’s numbers don’t exactly jump off the page either, but he caught five passes on six targets for 61 yards. Much better than his former LSU teammate. 

Picking the Battle of Ohio

Not only did both teams fail to get a victory in week 1, but neither of them covered the spread either. They both start the season off 0-1 and 0-1 against the spread. One was a bit worse than the other, though, Cleveland missed the spread by an NFL worst, 25 points. The Bengals only missed by a half a point.

The Browns are favored by six points in the matchup, with the over/under set at 43.5. The money maker is on the Bengals moneyline, though, paying out at +210. Not only is that the money maker, but it’s also the best bet. The pick here is the Bengals +210 on the moneyline and the under. Have fun.