NFL football is back on Thursday night with an intriguing matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. Intriguing depending on how you look at it. This is the Bengals and Browns, but Joe Burrow vs. Baker Mayfield carries a storyline at least. There will be people interested in how Burrow will do in his second ever NFL start.
There’s also an audience that will want to see if Baker crashes and burns again, or whether he can step up and put Sunday behind him. While everyone was hyping him up at the beginning of last season, I put out a warning regarding Baker. That was for the first game of last season, a game in which the Titans went into Cleveland and blew the Browns out.
More people certainly understand now after he had an incredibly disappointing 2019 campaign. He could still certainly quiet the doubters and have himself a quality career, but here’s a guy that thrives on confidence. When his confidence is up and he’s feeling good, Mayfield can do a lot of good things.
However, one or two mistakes, and soon he’s getting frustrated by defenses. The talent is there, with solid running backs and wide receivers. There aren’t going to be excuses left in the cupboard for Mayfield this season. We’ve all known for a year that Odell Beckham wanted out of Cleveland, and now trade rumors are heating up. Good wide receiver, a tad overrated, but you need a quarterback to get him the ball.
With regard to Burrow, there isn’t anything bad I can say about him in his NFL debut against the LA Chargers. He didn’t make the big mistake that you wait for a rookie to make. Burrow had the Bengals down near the goal line, and had a touchdown called back because of OPI.
Then Randy Bullock failed to hit a chip shot to force overtime. Burrow went 23 for 36 with 193 yards and an interception. He scored his first NFL touchdown on a draw up the middle. Burrow isn’t a burner, but he has some giddy up. He finished with 46 yards and a touchdown on 4.6 yards per carry.
Those stats won’t blow you away regarding Burrow, but I thought he held up well in his first outing as a professional quarterback in the NFL. Burrow will have a short turnaround after making his debut. We had a great start in the NFL with a 4-0-1 opening week against the spread.
Hopefully we can add to the bankroll with more winners in Week 2. Head below for our free Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns pick for September 17, 2020. If you’re looking for more picks in this game, we have you covered with some props.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns NFL Week 2 Betting Odds:
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction:
The Browns might need less than a week to put their last performance in the past. On the positive side, though, at least they don’t have extra time to sit around and think about that 38-6 dud in Baltimore. Mayfield passed for a touchdown and interception with 189 yards. He ended the day with 21 completions on 39 attempts.
That won’t get Browns’ fans too exciting for the rest of the regular season, but that’s a really good Ravens’ defense that he had to deal with on the road. In any event, it didn’t look like Mayfield and rookie head coach Kevin Stefanski were prepared. A solid performance against their in-state rivals would help for their confidence.
However, this is a locker room that just isn’t on the same page. It’s only Week 2 and here we are talking about Beckham demanding a trade to another team. How in sync do we believe the Browns are going to be tonight? They will make some plays here and there, but it’s likely going to be another case of a disjointed offense failing to make the plays that they should.
Not everything, but a lot of it goes back to Baker. He was a great college quarterback, though receivers don’t run free as often as they do in the Big 12. The Bengals were able to hold the Chargers in check on Sunday afternoon. Tyrod Taylor was held to 208 yards with no touchdowns. Austin Ekeler was the leading contributor offensively, with 84 yards on 19 carries. Joshua Kelley was solid as well, with 60 yards and a touchdown on 5 yards per carry.
The biggest positive for Stefanski, and his team going into this game is that they’re at home and welcoming a rookie quarterback on a short week. It’s not easy for veteran quarterbacks to prepare for these Thursday night games following a Sunday outing. Expect the Bengals to keep the ball on the ground often with Joe Mixon.
Burrow has talent, and he likely thrives and develops into a franchise quarterback in the future, but I could see him struggling a bit in this primetime spot. It should be a close, competitive game between two offenses that likely don’t get going fully. I’m on the UNDER in what should be a sloppy Thursday night meeting at FirstEnergy Stadium.