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‘Monday Night Football’ picks and open thread: Bengals at Browns

It’s the Battle of Ohio on Halloween night.

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Welcome to another edition of Monday Night Football. Tonight’s matchup features the 4-3 Cincinnati Bengals and the 2-5 Cleveland Browns.

Unfortunately, the biggest story line of tonight’s game is about a player that isn’t going to be in uniform. And, no, that’s not a Deshaun Watson reference.

Still, if there’s any team in the league that’s positioned to absorb the loss of their #1 wideout for an unspecified period of time, it’s probably the Bengals.

  • Ja’Marr Chase: 47 of 74 (63.5%) for 605 yards (12.9 average) with 6 TDs, 8 “big” plays, and 34 first downs
  • Tyler Boyd: 29 of 38 (76.3%) for 455 yards (15.7 average) with 3 TDs, 8 “big” plays, and 20 first downs
  • Tee Higgins: 31 of 44 (70.5%) for 455 yards (14.7 average) with 2 TDs, 6 “big” plays, and 22 first downs

It should also help (the Bengals) to be facing a defense that ranks 30th in defensive efficiency (per ESPN).

On the opposite sideline, you’ve got a team whose offensive personality revolves around its running game with Nick Chubb (#2 overall league-wide) and Kareem Hunt combining for 1,003 yards over the Browns’ first 7 games.

By comparison, the Bengals’ top two running backs have combined for 480 yards.

Bottom line: It should be a battle of contrasting styles with 2 teams that seem to be on decidedly different trajectories at the midpoint of the season.

For the Bengals (-175), tonight’s game is a chance to keep pace with Baltimore (5-3) atop the division - which is somewhat impressive considering that Cincinnati started the season 0-2.

For the Browns (+150), this is chance to end a 4-game losing streak (with 3 of the losses by 3 points or less) and to avoid joining Pittsburgh (2-6) in the division basement.

DraftKings Sportsbook is going with the Bengals on this one and has the Over/Under set at 45 points.

For what it’s worth, the Field Gulls staff - which has had a really good week predictions-wise - is going with Cincinnati.