Writer: Elliot Kennel
Summary: Stop sulking Browns fans, the Ravens really are that good, especially on offense. The Village Elliot predicted that the Ravens would score a bunch of points and got that about right. The most disappointing part of the defeat was the return to the 2019 mode of targeting OBJ 10 times, counting on him to save the team.
That is not a knock on OBJ who is the team’s most talented receiver, but it is not winning football to fixate on a single player. Part of that was Baker’s training from last year, and part of it was the coaching staff not trusting the running game of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Coach, what exactly do you want to see before you will call more than 50 percent running plays?
Joe Burrow is going to be a top quarterback in the NFL, but not without some game experience under his belt. He will connect to his outstanding wide receivers A.J. Green, John Ross, Tyler Boyd, and Denzel Ward. Some of Joe’s receivers may be wearing the wrong color jersey on Thursday.
Nevertheless, with Joe Mixon running the ball, there is enough skill-position talent on offense that the Bengals should have a puncher’s chance even if the Browns outclass them overall.
The Browns should win this game or at least play ball-control offense on Thursday. What this fan does not want to see is once again OBJ lead the team in targets with Mayfield looking for him whenever he gets in trouble and throwing into double coverage. The 2018 Mayfield was the point guard who spread the ball all over the field.
Let’s see some of that on Thursday. Very likely we will. It will be a high scoring affair, with the Bengals bringing along a rookie quarterback and the Browns trying to install a new offense and uninstall bad habits from last season. The Bengals will make one or two more mistakes than the Browns.
Prediction: Cleveland 31, Cincinnati 26