The Cleveland Browns are of the latter caliber. Up until two weeks ago, before losing to the St. Louis Rams, the Browns looked average, like they could make a slow push to the playoffs.
These past two weeks, with losses at a combined 32 points, have pushed Cleveland down, to the point where no one is giving them a chance to win this Thursday Night Football matchup.
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-11.5; 45) stands as the Browns last chance to salvage the season or merely save face. With Johnny Manziel starting in place of injured Josh McCown, the odds are slim that Cleveland reaches the 28+ points it would take to beat the Bengals.
Cincinnati is one the of undefeated teams, beating opponents by 9.42 points per game. No opponent has scored more than 24 points all season.
That's where division rivalry comes into play. In their two NFC North matchups, the Bengals won by an average of 5 points and had to fight to the bitter end for both wins.
Division rivalries count for something and these two teams have split their past 6 games, with current standing and home field meaning very little. Winners have done so by 10+ points in five of the games.
Cleveland's defense gives up 24 points by seemingly walking on the field; and on average 27 points per game for the year. The weight of this game is on Johnny Manziel's shoulders.
That's a tough order, so I take Bengals (UNDER). Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and look forward to the day Browns can do something for you.