1:00 P.M. KICK-OFF
TIPICO LINE: BROWNS BY 2 1/2
STADIUM AND WEATHER INFO
BROWNS POWER RANKINGS
USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY: 21th (Previous Rank: 20th)
Time to look to the future ... and wonder how much longer QB Baker Mayfield, who will be a free agent in 2023, will be part of it.
NFL: 20th (Previous Rank: 17th)
The Browns probably weren’t thrilled about being guests at Ben Roethlisberger’s emotional goodbye party at Heinz Field. The Cleveland defense held Big Ben to a comically low 2.7 yards per attempt on 46 passes, but the Browns' offense was inept in its own way. Baker Mayfield took nine sacks and threw two interceptions, while Kevin Stefanski deserves criticism for another strange game plan that included just 12 rush attempts for Nick Chubb, the team’s best offensive player. If you’re talking about the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season, the Browns are absolutely part of the conversation.
ESPN: 20th (Previous Rank: 20th)
BLEACHER REPORT: 20th (Previous Rank 17th)
For the second time in three years, the Cleveland Browns entered the regular season riding a wave of hype.
And for the second time in three years, as the calendar turns to January that hype has given way to a losing season and the team missing the playoffs.
And now, the Browns face an offseason filled with uncertainty and one massive question—what to do about Baker Mayfield?
Yes, part of Mayfield's struggles in 2021 can be attributed to the injuries he has suffered this year and a lack of passing game talent around him. But Odell Beckham appears to be doing fine in Los Angeles. Mayfield has one of the league's best offensive lines in front of him and maybe the best one-two punch in the backfield in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt behind him. But while Joe Burrow is racking up division titles down I-71 in Cincinnati, Mayfield is racking up interceptions and questions about his viability as the long-term solution under center.
"I won't sit here and say definitively that Mayfield isn't 'the guy' in Cleveland," Davenport said. "But if the Browns extend him after this mess of a season it will either be at a steep discount or the most Browns thing ever. Every time you think this team is shaking off the decades of dysfunction and dread, Cleveland happens."
BROWNS POSITION FANTASY RANKINGS
Quarterback: Baker Mayfield (Not Playing)-18th; Case Keenum
Running Backs: Nick Chubb-8th; Kareem Hunt-31st (Most Likely Out)
Wide Receivers: Jarvis Landry-34th
Tight Ends: Austin Hooper-14th; David Njoku-25th
Kickers: None Listed
BENGALS POSITION FANTASY RANKINGS
Quarterback: Joe Burrow-8th (Not Playing)
Running Backs: Joe Mixon-5th (Not Playing)
Wide Receivers: Ja'Marr Chase-6th; Tee Higgins-20th
Tight Ends: C.J. Uzomah-19th
Kickers: Evan McPherson-2nd
Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase vs. Browns CB Denzel Ward
Cincinnati's wunderkind is fresh off setting the single-game record for receiving yards by a rookie. In their first matchup, Chase only caught six passes for 49 yards. Ward had an interception return for a touchdown and deflected three passes.
Matchup to watch according to Browns Backers of North Jersey:
Browns Secondary vs. Bengals WRs Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins
With Joe Mixon out, the Bengals will look to throw the ball. Not sure how long Chase and Higgins will play, if at all, but the Browns secondary needs to lock them down.
Who will win and why according to USA Today Sports Weekly:
The Bengals have revenge and playoff seeding on the line. The Browns, meanwhile, were eliminated from playoff contention before Week 17.
Who will win and why according to Browns Backers of North Jersey:
This will be a game of back-up quarterbacks, but the Browns have Nick Chubb and a good defense. Case Keenum will not make the same mistakes as Baker Mayfield and the defense should fluster the Bengals 2nd string QB and RB at home.
Who will win according
to Browns Backers of North Jersey President Steve Stavrenos:
2021 SEASON STANDINGS:
USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY: 12-4
BROWNS BACKERS OF NORTH JERSEY: 7-9
BROWNS BACKERS OF NORTH JERSEY PRESIDENT STEVE STAVRENOS: 7-9