Cincinnati Vs Cleveland NFL Week 15 Expert PickNoah Williams
Will everyone be talking about the tight AFC North race and how outcome of this game will affect it or will it be all Johnny Manziel all the time?
At this point the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) and fourth place Cleveland Browns (7-6) are both still in the playoff race. Also in the hunt in the AFC North are the 8-5 Steelers and Ravens.
Manziel will replace Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback, the Browns announced Tuesday afternoon in an email.
Johnny Manziel will be the 21st starting QB for the Browns since their return to the NFL in 1999, the most by any team over that span.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 11, 2014
"This decision is really not about Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel, it is about the Cleveland Browns," Browns coach Mike Pettine said in a statement. "We are always going to make decisions that we feel are in the best interest of the team. Brian has done everything that has been asked of him and he has done so as a true professional. It’s never just any one position when a unit is not functioning at the level you’d like. We are trying to get the offense to perform at a higher level. Johnny has worked very hard to earn this opportunity and it will be very important for every member of the offense to elevate their play for us to obtain our desired result."
Pettine acknowledged that part of the move from Brian Hoyer to Johnny Manziel was to "do some different things schematically." What might that look like? We explored that in the spring when breaking down what Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan did with Robert Griffin III during the 2012 season.
— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) December 10, 2014
Now the rock-star rookie gets his shot to revive the Browns dimming playoff hopes while giving every football fan what they’ve been craving since Cleveland drafted Manziel in the first-round pick in May’s draft.
When the Browns played the Bengals in Cincinnati on Nov. 6 they came away with a 24-3 victory thanks to a dreadful performance by Bengals QB Andy Dalton and a very solid performance by his counterpart Hoyer.
Now in week 15, the NFL oddsmakers have listed this game as a pick em giving each team an equal shot to win. The game total is 44.
Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Date: Dec. 14, 2014
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Stadium: FirstEnergy Stadium
TV Info: FOX
Radio: Cincinnati Vs Cleveland
Point Spread: pk
Game Total: 44
Analyzing My Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns NFL Week 15 Expert Pick
Manziel has played in only three games this season and attempted only nine passes, five of which he completed for 63 yards two weeks ago in relief of Hoyer in a 26-10 loss at Buffalo. Manziel also rushed for 13 yards and a touchdown in that game.
Hoyer was pulled after throwing eight interceptions and only one touchdown over the last four games during which Cleveland went 1-3 and is now clinging to life in the playoff race.
In the win over the Bengals on Nov. 6, Hoyer completed 15 of 23 passes for 198 yards and no touchdowns, but also didn’t throw an interception.
Dalton completed only 10 of 33 passes for 86 yards and threw three interceptions for a quarterback rating of 2.0, which is one of the five worst in NFL history since 1960 for a quarterback attempting 30 passes or more.
The Browns also rushed for 170 yards against the Bengals in that game. Since then Hoyer has played himself out of a job, losing three of his last four.
— PFTonNBCSN (@PFTonNBCSN) December 9, 2014
Dalton is completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his roller-coaster of a season. Dalton has six total touchdowns and four picks in his last three games, and the Bengals have 33 passing plays of 20 or more yards. A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu have combined for more than 1,600 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns while Jermaine Gresham has 12 of his 50 receptions in his last three games. The Bengals ground game is averaging 4.1 yards per carry, as Jeremy Hill leads the way with 729 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, the Cincinnati Bengals are allowing 22.2 points, 377.8 yards, and they’ve forced 15 sacks and 17 turnovers.
In the 42-21 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, Dalton went 21 of 29 for 302 yards, 2 TDs without interceptions, but his effort was shadowed by a poor defensive performance that allowed 543 total yards from the Steelers and 25 points in the 4th quarter alone.
Manziel has thrown just nine pass attempts in the three games he has played in, and the Browns have 51 passing plays of 20 or more yards. Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel have combined for more than 1,300 receiving yards and three touchdowns while Josh Gordon has 17 receptions in his first three games back. The Browns ground game is averaging 3.6 yards per carry. After cutting offseason addition RB Ben Tate, Terrance West has lead the way with 556 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, the Cleveland Browns are allowing 20.8 points, 360.5 yards, and they’ve forced 27 sacks and 26 turnovers.
"We are trying to get the offense to perform at a higher level," said Browns head coach Mike Pettine. "Johnny has worked very hard to earn this opportunity and it will be very important for every member of the offense to elevate their play for us to obtain our desired result."
I like the home team by a field goal here. Manziel brings an excitement, a certain swagger and the x-factor to the Browns offense. This team has proven it can run the ball and can stop opposing defenses when given the opportunity and now with Manziel they do.
The Bengals are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Browns are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU loss, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record and 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. AFC North teams.