Cleveland Browns vs Bengals: Predictions for Hue Bowl 2.0
Writer: Chris Markoch
It’s only been a few weeks since these teams met in Cincinnati, but it seems like longer when you look at the way each team is trending. Since beating the Bengals 35-20 in Week 11, the Browns have won two out of three, including last Saturday’s primetime thriller in Denver.
The Browns are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, but they are showing no signs of a team that is looking to quit on the season. Quarterback Baker Mayfield challenged his teammates essentially saying that players who weren’t looking to win the next two games should leave. And that sentiment was backed up by head coach Gregg Williams.
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Meanwhile, the Bengals have lost two out of three since being beaten by the Browns. A.J. Green was inactive in the first meeting of these teams and now is officially on injured reserve, as is starting quarterback Andy Dalton. Joe Mixon, Vontaz Burfict, and other key Bengals are listed as questionable for this week’s game.
Simply put, the two teams have similar records, but look to be headed in different directions. At this point of the season, the question is who wants it more, and it seems pretty clear that a win on Sunday means much more to the Browns than it does to the Bengals.
That being said, the Bengals are a division rival, and the Browns have been guilty of coming out a little flat when they come off a big win. However, the Browns will be playing in front of a sellout crowd, and it should give the team extra motivation to finish the home part of the season in style.
You could go into a lot of X’s and O’s, but I see this one as being decided between the ears. The Bengals appear to have checked out, while the Browns look to be making every effort to get to eight wins – and what an accomplishment that would be.
Final score: Cleveland 31 – Cincinnati – 13