After suffering a loss in Pittsburgh last week, the Browns’ season is pretty much over. They do, however, have one last thing they could aim for: their first winning season since 2007 (when I was in the fifth grade, as a point of reference). To do that, they’ll have to take care of their interstate rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals.
Let’s have a look at what’s to come!
The Visiting Bengals:
The Bengals mercifully won their first game of the season last week, downing the visiting Jets by a score of 22-6. At 1-11, the Bengals are a front-running candidate to earn the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft- without setting any records for futility along the way.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati, they have a fairly concerning injury report coming in to Sunday’s game. Atop the list are starting cornerback Darqueze Dennard and defensive tackle Geno Atkins (not injury related), with the former only logging one practice on Thursday and the latter missing a whole week’s worth of practice. It doesn’t look like star wide receiver AJ Green (Ankle) will return to the field this weekend, as he has also missed the whole week’s worth of practice. Finally, starting defensive end Sam Hubbard’s (Knee) status looks quite shaky, as he has missed all week of practice.
The Bengals might not actually want to win this game, as to preserve their hold on the top pick in the upcoming draft. Still, the players, at the very least, will show up for this divisional matchup ready to play for sure.
The Hometown Browns:
As previously stated, the Browns dropped a dismal 20-13 contest in Pittsburgh to essentially kill off their playoff chances this year.
Making headlines after taking a nasty blow to his throwing hand, Baker Mayfield looks good to go for this week’s game, being at least active in some capacity during practice all week, including business as usual in a full practice on Thursday. Odell Beckham Jr. (Groin) and Jarvis Landry (Hip) are merely listed on the report as a precaution, as they are certainly not going to miss this weekend’s game, just as they haven’t after being on the injury report for the last eight consecutive weeks. Olivier Vernon (Knee) was limited in practice this week, leaving his status up in the air for the game. Greg Robinson (Concussion) looks good to go, as he practiced in full capacity all week. Finally, though he played so poorly this past Sunday that the fan base may not want him to play against the Bengals (popcorn vendor, anyone?), tackle Chris Hubbard (Knee) did not practice up until Thursday, where he was limited, meaning his status for the game is rather murky at the moment.
The Browns seem to enjoy ending seasons with false hope, to reel fans in for another disappointing season, so it’s likely the team will come, firing on all cylinders, to pretend like Freddie Kitchens doesn’t actually need to be fired after all, on Sunday. Go Browns!