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Expert predictions for NFL Week 18 game without Joe Burrow – The Athletic

Cincinnati was a 25-1 preseason long shot to win its division. Last week, the Bengals clinched their first AFC North title since 2015 with a 34-31 win over the Chiefs. Joe Burrow threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns. This time around, his go-target was Ja’Marr Chase, who exploded for a franchise-record 266 yards and three scores on 11 catches. Cincinnati has now won three games in a row. A fourth guarantees it at least the AFC’s No. 3 seed. But the home-field advantage is still on the table here. The Bengals need to win and have the Titans, Chiefs and Patriots lose to get the top seed. An alternative option is Cincinnati and Buffalo win while Tennessee and Kansas City lose. Forget about all of that for a moment; this is a chance for Cincinnati to show some growth. Cleveland blew out the Bengals in November. The Bengals are playing some of their best football at the right time; however, they opened as 3-point underdogs for the rematch but now are favored after the Browns’ poor performance on Monday night.

The Bengals announced on Wednesday that Burrow won’t play in the Week 18 matchup to rest for the playoffs.

The Browns could not match their 2020 success this year, coming up short of a playoff berth. Cleveland has dealt with injuries all year and enters Week 18 with a sub-.500 record. A 26-14 loss to the Steelers was another week of the Browns offense sputtering through the motions of trying to move the ball. Cleveland gained 232 yards and had more penalties (10) than third-down conversions (5). The defense held Pittsburgh below 300 yards, though Najee Harris did run for 188 on his own. Losing last week means the Browns can no longer finish with a winning record in consecutive seasons. They last accomplished that from 1986-89.

Odds, Over/Under, Moneyline






All odds from BetMGM. Odds updated at 3 p.m. ET Friday. Click here for live odds.

Betting Trends

  • The Browns are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games
  • The Browns are 1-4 ATS as favorites in their last 5 games
  • The Browns are 1-4 ATS as home favorites in their last 5 games
  • The Over is 1-5 in Browns games in their last 6 games
  • The Bengals are 6-1 ATS against the Browns on the road in their last 7 games
  • The Bengals are 5-1 ATS on the road in their last 6 games
  • The Bengals are 11-3 ATS against the Browns in their last 14 games
  • The Bengals are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games
  • The Over is 7-3 in Bengals games in their last 10 games

Click here to learn more about The Athletic’s FREE betting contest with BetPrep.

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(Photo of Ja’Marr Chase: Andy Lyons / Getty Images; The Athletic may receive an affiliate commission if you open an account with BetMGM through links contained in the above article.)

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