The state of Ohio is one of the few in the NFL to have multiple teams in competing in the league. It is the only one besides California to have two teams inside one division. That is why this Thursday Night Football is so important. The Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals, searching for a way to erase a painful loss in Week 1 against the Ravens. On the other side, Joe Burrow wants to grow into a superstar, but also to start winning as soon as possible.
Browns (-250) lost to Baltimore in the opening round 38-6, with Baker Mayfield being intercepted on his first drive of the year. Now that is not a good way to start your defining season in the NFL. If the former No.1 doesn’t prove himself during this campaign, the Browns will be forced to look for other solutions in the near future when it comes to the starting QB position.
Loaded with fantastic offensive weapons around him, Mayfield leads Cleveland to mediocrity, not greatness as he was supposed too. Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, all these guys are Pro Bowl level, yet their team can’t even be in the combination for the playoffs, let alone enter the same.
Hunt and Chubb accumulated for 132 yards on 23 carries, which is solid against the Ravens defense, but the passing game was awful – 189 yards. As soon as Mayfield steps up and improves, things will be better for the entire Browns.
Bengals (+210) left a much better impression even though they lost the opener against the LA Chargers. Randy Bullock missed a field goal that would lead the game into overtime, and the hosts, who were pretty much solid, were left empty-handed.
Joe Burrow scored a rushing TD on his first career drive, but was later read by the Chargers’ defense who wouldn’t allow him to establish his passing game, completing 23 of his 36 throws for 196 yards, but without a score and with one pick.
He already spoke about preparing for Thursday’s clash, saying that he needs to find a way to throw it deep to AJ Green, who will take care of the rest. One thing in his game was good, though, and that is running. Burrow had 46 yards on the ground, without showing any fear.
In a game where defenses had the leading word, we might say that the rookie found his way around well, and that he needs to keep up with the same approach. If that happens, the Bengals might be a pretty interesting bunch for watching.
There were some rumors that TE Njoku won’t play, but that is not true. Landry is questionable but will be ready for the clash. LB Mack Williams
DT Geno Atkins is out and Mike Daniels are out. S Shaw Williams too.
Head to Head Matches
The previous season the series between these two sides was tied. Cinci won the last game 33-23, and the one in Cleveland before that was 27-19 for the Browns.
The Bengals are a six-point underdog here, and something tell us that such a spread would be too high for the hosts. They could win, but we hardly believe that it would with more than six points.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.