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Bengals +6 (-110)
|Bengals vs Browns Information|
|What||Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns|
|Where||FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH|
|When||Thursday, September 17, 2020; 8:20 PM ET|
|How to watch||NFLN|
If it weren’t for a shanked kick by their placekicker, the Cincinnati Bengals might have been able to tie their Week 1 game against the Chargers at the end of the fourth quarter and maybe even win in overtime, except it’s Cincinnati and the Bengals so of course the kick went right and they went home with the L.
The Cleveland Browns, on the other hand, could not even come close to the Baltimore Ravens and proceeded to get whooped in Week 1, 6-38, a score that seems impossible given the amount of talent on this Cleveland Roster.
These two teams have four days to rest and then they go back at it again in Cleveland for Thursday Night Football, an AFC North battle for the basement, it would seem, the loser of this one going to 0-2 and having their 2020 hopes and playoff dreams crushed earlier than normal.
Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow was decent during his rookie debut, posting 23-of-36 completions for 193 yards and no touchdowns while running the ball 8 times for 46 yards and a touchdown, all while showing veteran poise and confidence under center.
It will be the job of young head coach Zac Taylor and OC Brian Callahan to continue Burrow’s development in the league, and what could be extra helpful in that regard is getting some better protection from his front line, the squad allowing the rookie to be sacked three times during his Week 1 introduction.
This guy threw for 60 touchdowns last season at LSU, so chances are he will find some of that magic in Cincinnati, especially with the targets he’s been given, including now healthy A.J. Green, John Ross, and Tyler Boyd.
When a team makes Odell Beckham Jr. look mediocre, something isn’t right, and add to that the underuse of their incredible rushing attack that stars young playmakers Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and you know they must still be putting the pieces together in Cleveland.
Like all teams in this pandemically challenged offseason, new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski had his hands full getting his roster and game plans ready for the unusual season, and his team looked like it had, indeed, only been together for the six weeks that they have been an official unit.
Add the new upgraded front line, a killer D-line and two tight ends that can both adequately block and catch the ball well, and it seems like there is no excuse for this Browns team to at least give opponents a run for the money every week, especially against these still gelling Bengals.
A.J. Green was the Bengals top receiver in Week 1, catching 5 passes for 51 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 10.2 yards per catch.
Green is healthy now after struggling to suit up for over a season, so him showing up and giving rookie QB Burrow a dependable target is a key to this Cincy team finding wins.
Tyler Boyd and John Ross join Green in the receivers’ room, so there are plenty of decent playmakers to distract defenses in the secondary.
Mayfield posted a horrible Week 1, with 21 completions out of 39 attempts for 189 yards, a touchdown, and an interception with 2 sacks, all on the way to an embarrassing defeat by the Ravens.
Nobody will argue that Mayfield was great under center at Oklahoma where he won the Heisman Trophy his senior year, but in Cleveland last season he was struggling to keep the ball out of opponents’ hands, throwing 21 interceptions, so his pick right out of the gate in Week 1 was a bit disheartening.
Mayfield has to fight all the excuses that challenge him this season and just put the ball on his receivers’ numbers, but that requires him to feel comfortable in the pocket, something new head coach Stefanski is helping him with, and the team’s upgraded front line doesn’t hurt in that regard, either.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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