1:00 P.M. KICK-OFF
TIPICO LINE: BENGALS BY 6
STADIUM AND WEATHER INFO
BROWNS POWER RANKINGS
USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY: 17th (Previous Rank: 19th)
Welp, you’d like to think the Deshaun Watson-led offense couldn’t be any worse moving forward ... then again, Cleveland won’t be facing any more FCS teams this season.
NFL: 20th (Previous Rank: 19th)
Deshaun Watson made his Browns debut in Sunday’s 27-14 win over the Texans and looked ... very much like a quarterback who hadn’t played a regular-season snap in 700 days. He routinely skipped passes into the turf at NRG Stadium and acknowledged after the win he profiles as a work in progress after serving a suspension for the first 11 games for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. "It's not going to be perfect, especially playing in December football where guys are [in Week 13], and this is Week 1 for me," the QB said. Watson had less to say about the loud chorus of boos that rang out from what looked like a half-empty stadium -- his former home venue -- each time he came to the line of scrimmage on Sunday. Watson’s new reality remains a complicated one.
ESPN: 23rd (Previous Rank: 24th)
Nick Chubb leads the NFL in yards after contact per rush (2.60), powering one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL. With Kareem Hunt ranking 16th in yards after contact per rush (2.03), Cleveland remains one of the best tackle-breaking rushing offenses in the league.
BLEACHER REPORT: 18th (Previous Rank 20th)
It's not that often that an NFL team scores 27 points without scoring an offensive touchdown. Or that a team rolls out a starting quarterback who hasn't played meaningful football in 700 days. But in a weird win over the Houston Texans, the Cleveland Browns did both Sunday.
Week 13 marked the Cleveland debut of Deshaun Watson, who looked very much like a quarterback who hadn't played a game that counts in almost two years. He had just 12 completions on 22 attempts for 131 yards with an interception and a passer rating of 53.4. But thanks to four takeaways, a punt return touchdown, a fumble return for a score and a pick-six, the Browns got past the league's worst team for their fifth win of 2022.
The passing game may not have been clicking, but as has been the case all season, the run game was on point, with Cleveland tallying 174 yards on the ground. Davenport said that Cleveland may have little choice but to lean on Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt more than ever down the stretch.
"Given how long Watson was sidelined by last year's contract impasse in Houston and this year's suspension," he said, "it's well within reason that he's not going to be anything close to the player he was before until 2023 (if ever—but that's a discussion for another day). If the Browns are going to make a late playoff push, the offense is going to have to go through the ground game."
BROWNS POSITION FANTASY RANKINGS
Quarterback: DeShaun Watson-23rd
Running Backs: Nick Chubb-5th; Kareem Hunt-32nd
Wide Receivers: Amari Cooper-19th
Tight Ends: David Njoku-23rd
Kickers: Cade York-21st
BENGALS POSITION FANTASY RANKINGS
Quarterback: Joe Burrow-6th
Running Backs: Joe Mixon-14th; Samaje Perine-15th
Wide Receivers: Ja'Marr Chase-5th; TeeHiggins-20th; Tyler Boyd-35th
Tight Ends: Hayden Hurst-10th
Kickers: Evan McPherson-8th
Browns' DE Myles Garrett vs. Bengals OL
Garrett made a mockery of the Cincinnati line in Week 8, as usual. If he can do it again, it will again ruin QB Joe Burrow's timing and likely swing the outcome in a big way.
Matchup to watch according to Browns Backers of North Jersey:
Browns Secondary vs. Bengals Wide Receivers
Ja'Marr Chase is back for this game. Add in Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, plus TE Hayden Hurst and the Browns secondary is going to have their hands full.
Who will win and why according to USA Today Sports Weekly:
The Bengals are better than they were in Week 8. It should be closer, but it's hard to trust Bengals coach Zac Taylor against Cleveland. (He's 1-6 lifetime against the Browns.)
Who will win and why according to Browns Backers of North Jersey:
The Browns defense was solid last week and they have played better. Myles Garrett always plays well against the Bengals. The defense and improved play from QB DeShaun Watson should help the Browns this week.
2022 SEASON STANDINGS:
USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY: 7-5
BROWNS BACKERS OF NORTH JERSEY: 5-7
REGULAR RAFFLE PRIZES