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Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns - NFL Week 2
Thursday Night Football
September 17, 2020
About the Bengals
QB Joe Burrow played fairly well in his debut despite the 1 turnover he committed. Burrow put his team in a position to win the game as he threw a potential TD pass to WR A.J. Green but was nullified by an offensive pass interference call. With the Bengals down by 3, Randy Bullock lined up for a field goal attempt that would have sent the game into overtime but missed giving the Bengals their 1st loss. RB Joe Mixon who is usually dependable carrying the ball had a costly fumble, his 1st since his rookie season in 2017. The Bengals defense played well holding the Chargers to only 16 points but allowed 155 yards rushing. DT Geno Atkins was ruled out with an injury and the Bengals could have used his services to help slow down the Chargers rushing attack. The defense will have their hands full against the Browns facing RB’s Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
About the Browns
The Browns suffered an embarrassing 32 point loss in their opener against the Baltimore Ravens as they hope to bounce back against their rivals. The Browns are winless in their last 16 openers and QB Baker Mayfield is 1-3 against Lamar Jackson in his career. Mayfield has to get on the same page with his WR’s as he failed to get the ball into his playmakers' hands. WR’s Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry combined for only 83 yards and 8 catches on 16 targets. It’s imperative for the Browns that these players get every opportunity to produce and that Mayfield puts them in positions to succeed. Mayfield had the 2nd worst passer rating of any QB in Week1. Both RB’s Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt had 1 fumble apiece as their opportunities were limited from the Browns playing from behind. TE David Njoku, who scored the Browns lone TD left the game with a knee injury and was placed on injured reserve. Luckily, the Browns have good depth at the TE position with Austin Hooper and rookie Harrison Bryant out of Florida Atlantic. The Browns defense only had 2 sacks in the game. The pass rush of DE Myles Garrett and LB Sione Takitaki must get to Burrow and not allow him to beat them with his legs.
Players to Watch
Joe Mixon (Bengals): The Bengals will need Mixon to grind out yardage and be a workhorse in order to keep the pressure off of their young QB and average much more than 3.6 yards per carry.
Odell Beckham Jr. (Browns): He could be the difference maker if Baker can get him the ball. The Browns must prioritize getting Beckham Jr. involved.
Tee Higgins (Bengals): Look for Burrow to target Higgins going forward due to all the attention on WR’s A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd.
Harrison Bryant (Browns): Bryant should fully take advantage of seeing the field more in the wake of the injury to Njoku. Bryant has a prototypical frame for a TE with enough mass to be a quality blocker and enough athleticism to become a receiving threat.
In the battle of Ohio, Mayfield gets it together and spreads the ball all over the field putting plenty of points on the board. Burrow struggles in his 2nd start and goes through the normal growing pains all-rookie QB’s experience.
Final Score: Bengals 13 / Browns 38