This could be a game that Bengals fans look back on as the end of the Andy Dalton era. The team secured the first overall pick last week, and considering the direction of the franchise, it is hard to believe that first overall pick won’t be used on his replacement. Fans may have some differing feelings about the Dalton era ending, but we can all at least enjoy one more game.
The Browns are coming into this game with a familiar feeling for Week 17. They aren’t playing for a playoff spot. In fact they will end this decade without a single winning season. This season has to go down as one of the more disappointing of that decade as well. After turning things around late last season, they went out and traded for Odell Beckham Jr. and after that the national media anointed them as contenders. The future seemed bright under first overall pick Baker Mayfield, but things just never developed like everyone thought. Mayfield has 19 passing touchdowns to 18 interceptions. Beckham is clawing his way to 1,000 receiving yards with only three touchdowns, but worst of all they just failed to live up to their own hype.
The bright spot for both of these teams has been their running backs. Joe Mixon getting to 1,000 rushing yards on Sunday may be the most impressive turnaround we’ve seen from a running back in a very long time. Prior to the Bengals’ bye week in Week 9, he only had 320 rushing yards on the season. He part of a rushing offense that was on pace to be one of the worst in NFL history. Over his past seven games, he has recorded 655 rushing yards with three games that eclipsed 100 yards. That includes when he recorded his career-high of 146 rushing yards in Week 14 against the Browns.
Cleveland has the NFL’s leading rusher in their backfield. Nick Chubb has been a revelation this season, and his 1,453 rushing yards has been what has kept this offense from completely bottoming out at times. There is little doubt that he will end the season with the rushing title as he has 92 more rushing yards than the next player on the list.
This will go down in NFL history as a meaningless game, but the answer to who will win could be an easy one. Who does this game matter more to? Who is going to show up and give 100 percent. Will it be the team that just locked up the first overall pick playing to send their quarterback off right? Could it be the team that wants to end a season of disappointment on a high note? Whose pride is more valuable?
Cincinnati Bengals (1-14) vs. Cleveland Browns (6-9)
Date/Time: Dec. 29th, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Paul Brown Stadium Cincinnati, Ohio
Series Leader: The Bengals lead the series at 50-42
Streak: The Browns have won the past three meetings
Coaches vs. Opponent: Zac Taylor: (0-1). Freddie Kitchens (1-0)
Television: The game will air on FOX-TV. In Cincinnati, it will be carried by WXIX-TV (Ch. 19). Broadcasters are Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Robert Smith (analyst) and Megan Olivi (sideline reporter).
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
Live Online Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
SB Nation Browns’ site: Dawgs by Nature
Odds: Bengals, +2.5 [Odds Shark]
Replays: Check local listings on NFL Network or NFL Game Pass