Round 2 – Battle of Ohio
The second and last ” Battle of Ohio” of this year will be a big game for the Browns. This is a must-win for Cleveland who, let’s be honest, had a hard game last week. This week should be an easy win for Cleveland even with key players listed as questionable such as star receiver Jarvis Landry.
The Bengals come into this game with a losing record of 0-2 and only scoring 30 combined points for both games. The Browns, for the last two games, are 1-1 with 39 points scored. The eams are placed 3rd and 4th respectively in the AFC North. The last time these teams met, it was a close 35-30 win for the Browns.
This game is a momentum shifter for the Browns if they can come away with the win and not only boost their record in the division but also boost their confidence from last week’s defeat.
So let’s look at the “who’s who” of Sunday’s game and how they compare.
Both Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow have had amazing seasons so far with the talent they have around them. Both quarterbacks have thrown for over 1,000 yards. Mayfield has thrown for 600 fewer yards than Burrow but has thrown 10 touchdowns to Burrow’s six. Both teams starting wideouts have excelled this season with Tee Higgins last week getting eight targets and pulling in six of those, to Odell Beckham Jr’s four targets last week and grabbing just two of those.
Both teams’ defensive and offensive lines have made progress this season with very little difference in total first downs acquired and third-down stops. Both teams are neck-and-neck in time of possession with the Browns hovering at around 31:00 per game and the Bengals right around 35:00 per game.
In the end, it’s more than just a rivalry from Ohio. This game could be the turning point for a franchise that has been forgotten by most of the NFL and its fans if outside of Ohio.
“Alexa, play Taking Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive” because that is what the Browns have been and will continue to do so until they lift the Lombardi trophy on February 7th.
**For the Bengals, RB Joe Mixon is out. For the Browns, TE Austin Hooper is out.