Writer: Dan Gilinsky
Wow was that Browns Week 1 loss to the Ravens a rough one. Now did tons of us really think the squad would beat the Ravens Week 1 there, even sans fans?
I’d venture to say no, with the Ravens being one of the top teams in the league, and with the nature of how the offseason was due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Injuries, so many new faces/coaches and the like didn’t help, either, but the end result was well……far from ideal.
Next up, let’s hope Kevin Stefanski and company have a very, very short memory, with the Bengals coming to town for another divisional matchup on Thursday night. I believe the Browns should be a whole lot better this go-round, though, as Cincinnati is obviously not nearly in the class of Baltimore.
The Bengals do have some very good young talent/playmakers, however, don’t get me wrong, and while he did throw a “learning experience” pick in Week 1 and had a few big misses, Joe Burrow did show promise in Cincy’s close L to the Los Angeles Chargers. And Cincinnati should’ve, frankly, tied the game down the stretch, but as us Browns fans know all too well, you can’t walk away from the TV just yet on short field goals.
So how’s this one going to turn out for the Orange and Brown on TNF, then?
I’m going to say that Baker Mayfield, who had a QBR of 33.4 in Week 1, rebounds and does better overall, thanks in large part to the Browns being more committed to the ground game throughout opening up throws. There won’t be rushing yards piled up plenty from the score being lopsided, for context.
Cleveland did get it going in that regard on the surface against Baltimore, objectively, but there were some misleading stats and inconsistency in that realm, too, which was understandable with the o-line having new faces.
Anyhow, I’m going to say Burrow, with A.J. Green back and a nice stable of wideouts featuring Tyler Boyd and others, and the Browns having a plethora of defensive injuries, even more so, does pretty well. That said, I’ll say the Browns defense does far better in the red zone against the rookie, Myles Garrett gets a strip-sack in the fourth quarter, and the rushing effectiveness leads to a few chunk passes as the game progresses.
Browns get the W by 5 against the Bungles and hopefully, can have a fast start their following week in Washington.
Week 2 Prediction: Cleveland 27, Cincinnati 22