By: Chris Taylor (Kalapaki Joe’s Staff Writer)
The Cleveland Browns (2-6) will head south to battle their state and division rivals the Cincinnati Bengals (7-0) in Week 9’s edition of Thursday Night Football.
Cincinnati enters Thursday night’s game on the heels of a key divisional road victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, which barring a miracle, has basically secured the Bengals the NFC North title.
Last season, the Bengals won on the road the Sunday before a Thursday night game, only to come home and receive a 24-3 thrashing at the hands of the Browns.
The Bengals turned the ball over 4 times during that 2014 home loss to Cleveland and looked unprepared on both sides of the ball.
Will this year’s undefeated Bengals squad suffer the same fate? Unlikely.
Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton has looked solid this season, completing 153 of 231 passes for 1992 yards and 15 touchdowns against just 4 interceptions.
The Bengals defense has been equally as impressive, allowing just 20.4 points per game through their first seven outings.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns will be looking to play spoiler when they invade Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday night.
The Browns will turn to second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel for Thursday Night’s primetime matchup.
“Johnny Football” won his last start, leading the Browns to a 28-14 home victory over the Tennessee Titans in September.
However, when Manziel started against the Bengals last season, he suffered an embarrassing 30-0 home loss to their Ohio State rivals.
Manziel has found solid chemistry with wideout Travis Benjamin this season. The pair hooked up for two 50+ yard touchdown scores against the Titans.
On defense the Browns have struggled to find their identity. Cleveland was expected to have one of the league’s better defensive units this offseason, but that has not been the case.
Cleveland does have a very talented secondary, which will need to step and force turnovers if the team hopes to upset the heavily favored Bengals.
Las Vegas currently has Cincinnati pegged as -12.5 point favorites, with the over/under set at 45.5 points.
I predict that the Bengals will win this game by a final score of 27-16.
Stay tuned to KalapakiJoes.com for all your NFL News and be sure to catch tomorrow’s Thursday Night game at one of Kauai’s Kalapaki Joe’s locations!