I’m sitting here and thinking about the Cleveland Browns right now and what lies ahead in their battle with the Cincinnati Bengals.
It was not easy to sit and watch last Sunday’s game when Cleveland fell apart early in Pittsburgh. But this Sunday’s matchup down in Cincinnati will say a lot, despite the Bengals 1-4-1 record. Can the Browns bounce back against a team they’re supposed to beat? How will Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield play after a terrible performance? I’m also curious to see the type of play-calling that head coach Kevin Stefanski will roll out as well. This will also be the first time Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow will play a team twice. How will he adjust? And are the Browns ready for that?
It’s been said that the good teams in the NFL are able to bounce back after a loss or bad performance. Well, Cleveland will have that chance this Sunday. As of right now, I’m confident that the Browns won’t play nearly as bad as they did at Heinz Field last Sunday. This is their chance to show they can regroup and get back on the winning track. If they do, they can stay in the race and still be right behind both Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the AFC North. If they lose, there will be more people questioning the whole team. The Browns don’t want that after winning four in a row. Get the momentum back and move forward.
Though the Bengals have a record of 1-4-1, they cannot be taken lightly. This is the NFL and even the worst teams are tough. Cincinnati plays hard and I fully expect this to be a close game. Joe Burrow will get a second chance to beat Cleveland. Each week, from what I see, it looks like Burrow and the Bengals get a little bit better. Cleveland has to be ready for them.
Earlier this week, head coach Kevin Stefanski said he learned some lessons and called some plays he shouldn’t have against the Steelers. I’m very interested in seeing what his game plan will be against a Bengals defense that struggles on defense. How will he mixed it up, how will he help Mayfield out? Will wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. get the ball earlier in the game? Those are some of my questions. I’m sure Stefanski will be looking to take control early.
This is how the teams stack up against one another.
The Cincinnati Bengals come into this game ranked 25th in total offense with 343 yards. They rank 24th in rushing with 101 yards per game and 18th in the NFL in passing with 241 yards per game. Joe Burrow throws the ball a lot. The Bengals average 21 points a game which ranks them 26th. That will improve as time goes on, Burrow gets more experience and he gets better protection up front.
The Cleveland Browns have the NFL’s 19th ranked offense. The Browns are still the #1 ranked rushing offense, earning 169 yards per game. The passing game comes in at 29th with 189 yards per game. Cleveland scores an average of 27 points a game which ranks them 12th in the league. I feel once Mayfield starts to feel more and more comfortable in the offense, that will improve.
On defense the Bengals rank 25th in total defense. They have a very difficult time stopping both the run and the pass. They allow an average of 142 yards on the ground. That ranks them 27th in the league and 252 yards in the air which earns them the 22nd rated pass defense in the NFL.
For Cleveland, their total defense is ranked 19th at 365 yards a game. The give up 271 yards in the passing game. That has them ranked at 27th in the league. On the bright side, teams haven’t had much luck running against Cleveland. So far, the Browns run defense is only allowing 94 yards a game. That ranks 6th in the league.
Cleveland is a plus four in the turnover department. They rank 6th in the league there. While they give up a lot of yards and points, they also can be opportunistic and usually take advantage of them.
Cincinnati ranks 19th in the NFL with a negative one in turnovers.
So, again, another area that the Browns could use to their advantage. Whether that be forced fumbles, interceptions or a combination of both. The opportunities could be there.
This also could mean another big day for defensive end Myles Garrett.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis