Bold predictions for the Browns and Bengals in their Week 2 Thursday night matchup.
While the Cincinnati Bengals came out of Week 1 with some optimism after rookie quarterback Joe Burrow led them in position to force overtime late in the fourth quarter, the Cleveland Browns don’t share a similar feeling. After Baker Mayfield and Co. laid a total dud in a 32-point loss to Baltimore, they are reeling and still looking for answers.
The Browns will need to find those answers soon, though. After a short week, Cleveland plays host to the AFC North rival Bengals on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 2 in the NFL. And a win for either team in this matchup could be critical for the outlook of the season moving forward.
Burrow and Cincinnati weren’t necessarily thinking about playoff appearances after winning just two games last year but they are looking for notable improvement. As for Cleveland, coming off a highly disappointing six-win season, they were looking to emerge as a post-hype sleeper in the 2020 season. An 0-2 start for either team would set them back from their goals.
With plenty at stake for an early-season divisional matchup, let’s make five bold predictions for the Bengals vs. Browns game on Thursday Night Football in Week 2.
5. Baker Mayfield bounces back with 3 TD game
There’s no sugarcoating the fact that Browns’ third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield was downright awful in his first outing of the 2020 campaign. After regressing from his rookie season to 2019, the hope was that the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft would start to ascend once again.
Instead, Mayfield went only 21-of-39 with just 189 yards, one score and an interception. But against a Bengals defense that doesn’t have the fiercest pass-rush and that has nothing more than stopgap veterans in the secondary outside of Jessie Bates III, Mayfield has an opportunity to make plays.
Expect Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr. and Austin Hooper to attack a weak linebacker corps in the middle of the field and for Mayfield to have time to find them. The young quarterback still has talent but he just has to show it once again to star restoring faith in his future at the position in The Land.