Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Thursday NFL pick: Browns vs. Bengals

BROWNS (5-3) at BENGALS (5-2-1)

Line: CIN by 6 ½

Cote’s pick: CIN 23-20

TV: 8:25 p.m., NFL (airing in South Florida)

Ohio beams as it hosts the start of NFL Week 10, tantamount to the kickoff of the season’s second half. The state’s two AFC North rivals have a chance to both have winning records the same year for the first time since 1988. It was ’86 when last these two met this deep into a season with first place in the division at stake. Two trends point to a Cincy win. Bengals are 13-0-1 in past 14 home games, while Brownies have dropped 17 consecutive division road games dating to 2008. Beyond that there is the sense Cleveland just isn’t that good. Browns have struggled against the dregs, losing to Jax and needing late rallies to beat Oakland and Tampa. And the injury to Pro Bowl center Alex Mack has really hurt the CLE ground game. I do see this one closer than the bet-line, though. Browns D has picked off Andy Dalton seven times in past four meetings and should be a challenge for him once more.