Week 18: Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
Jake Browning had the best game of his life this past weekend as he continues to play well in relief of Joe Burrow. A former Washington standout, Browning was undrafted in 2019 and began his career with the Minnesota Vikings where his first offensive coordinator was Kevin Stefanski.
Cleveland's head coach knows Browning well, so he might be one of the few people who aren't surprised by his early success. While they did lose in his first start against the Steelers, Browning still played well and is now completing 75.6 percent of his passing attempts for 649 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. That should be enough for them to potentially knock off the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings but then he will be tested.
Cincinnati finishes the year with a two-game road trip to Pittsburgh and then Kansas City. They do return home for Week 18 and will host the Browns, the same team that handed them a loss in Week 1. That 24-3 victory came with Burrow under center but he was still hampered by a calf injury. This means Cleveland should expect more than three points but they are also more than capable of getting the win.
Look for the defense to be fired up as they hope to enter the playoffs on a high note. Throw in the fact that Stefanski knows Browning very well and that's another reason to believe in the road team. It will be closer than we would like to see but in the end, the defense makes a huge stop and gives Cleveland an 11-6 campaign as well as a playoff berth.
Final Score: Browns 21, Bengals 20
Browns Record: 11-6