Writer: Cory Kinnan
Summary: The Kevin Stefanski era was not off to a hot start after an almost predictable loss to the defending AFC North champs in the Baltimore Ravens. A short turnaround to Thursday night will not do this rookie coaching staff any favors as they look to get in the win column vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. There are, however, some bright notes to look at.
In Week 1, there were only two offenses with a lower Expected Added Points per play (EPA) than the Browns. One of those two teams: the Cincinnati Bengals. So while the Browns’ defense is still mangled with injuries, they will at least get a reprieve after getting torched by the reigning Most Valuable Player in Lamar Jackson on Sunday.
Equally as important to point out: the Bengals’ linebackers are just as inexperienced as the Browns. Should the Browns’ offensive line dominate the point of attack as they managed to do a week ago, then getting Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb through the second level could prove to be a fruitful adventure.
Another week in the new offensive system should do this unit and Baker Mayfield some favors as well, especially going up against a significantly weaker defense. The Browns get in the win column here, even if may be an ugly win.
Prediction: Cleveland 24, Cincinnati 20