Two (0-1) teams are given the privilege of playing on Thursday Night Football. The Joe Burrow led Bengals take on the Baker Mayfield led Browns. What’s the golden rule in football? Don’t turn the ball over! The team that turns the ball over least will win this game tonight.
Unfortunately for the Browns I don’t feel inspired by anything they did in week one against the Baltimore Ravens. Here is a chance at redemption. The Bengals offense is full of rust and we will now see how Burrow responds after an ugly loss. Both of these defenses have sore spots entering tonight’s game. Bengals will be without both defensive tackles; Atkins and Daniels. Bengals kicker Bullock is also dealing with a lingering injury but will kick through the pain tonight. Right away that tells me Browns running backs Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb should have plenty of opportunities to make their presence felt. Browns have three-offensive tackles listed questionable along with wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
A lot of pride on the line tonight in the battle of Ohio. Both of these defenses are susceptible to the big play and awful in the red zone. I would say there is more pressure on Baker Mayfield to perform tonight more than Joe Burrow. However, Burrow has put plenty of pressure on himself with his gritty performance in week one that resulted in defeat. To lead means to be accountable. The rookie Burrow has passed that test. Tonight the Browns defense will be Burrows biggest test yet.
Without a large sample size there are a few metrics I have looked at for this game. The Bengals had a 42.9 % conversion rate on 3rd down against the Chargers stout defense. Opposed to a 25 % 3rd down conversion rate the Bengals had against the Ravens defense. Although, Bengals have stud running back Joe Mixon. The Browns are a better running team through one week of action. Ranking ninth in rushing yards. Opposed to the Bengals who rank seventeenth. Passing wise its almost a dead heat. Bengals rank twenty-seventh and Browns rank twenty-ninth in passing yards per game.
My pick: OVER 43.5 (-115)
I can understand if the defenses are good early on that might hurt the over. However, I see this going the other way. Two offenses that really want to show their stuff but were unable to last week. Both of these quarterbacks won’t be hesitating tonight. Neither one of these defenses is great or has the means to slow the flow of this game down for very long. This has all the makings of an high-scoring affair.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION:
38 – 24 Bengals def. Browns
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