3 big storylines to watch as Browns try and tame Bengals

Browns, Myles Garrett. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Myles Garrett. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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It is time for the second rendition of “The Battle of Ohio” when the Cleveland Browns trek down State Route 3 to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. In Week 8, on Halloween night, the orange and brown got the better of the orange and black 32-13. Things have gone much differently for both teams since then, and this week is a big-time game.

One thing that favors the Browns in this game is the fact that Kevin Stefanski is a career 8-0 against cat teams, winning all five matchups against the Bengals. Obviously, this isn’t a real statistic that will determine the outcome of this game, but it’s a fun one to discuss.

The Bengals have not lost since losing to Cleveland in Week 8, while the Browns are on a two-game winning streak for the first time this season. This game will loom large in terms of the playoff race, most importantly, the AFC North.

Here are the three big storylines to watch as the Browns try and tame the Bengals.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

3: Can the Browns defense cool down Joe Burrow?

The Browns defense has played a lot better over the last month or so, but more so over the last two games. Since losing to Cleveland on MNF in Week 8, Burrow has elevated his game and put himself in MVP discussions.

In those four games, Burrow has thrown for 1,117 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions, while being sacked five times and adding two more scores on the ground. The Browns will have their work cut out for themselves, but luckily, they’ve had Burrow’s number in his short career.

Cincinnati has yet to beat Cleveland with Burrow under center, going 0-4 in those games. If the Browns want to keep their playoff push moving, they will need to replicate what they did in Week 8, when they limited him to 232 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, while also sacking him five times. Myles Garrett wreaked havoc finishing with 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits. He will need another game like that to tame the red-hot Bengals.

Burrow got his favorite target in Ja’Marr Chase back last week and there was some animosity between him and the Cleveland secondary during the offseason. This is a game that the Browns’ defense wants to show out in.

Cleveland got two defensive scores in the 27-14 Week 13 victory over the Texans, and adding on to that would go a long way in this game.