It took 13 weeks, but the Bengals can finally look for win No. 2 on the 2019 season.
In an attempt to claim their first winning streak under Zac Taylor, the Bengals will travel to Cleveland and face the Browns for the first time this year.
And before you ask: no, A.J. Green is not playing.
Green’s long-awaited season debut is still at least a week away, but it’s all bad news along the injury front. Fellow receiver John Ross III has been added back onto the active roster after missing the last eight games on the Reserve/Injured list and will look to re-invigorate a passing offense that finally achieved some form of competency last week.
That competency was found with the return of Andy Dalton, who was benched during the previous three weeks. Having never lost his starting job before, Dalton came out of the gate last week with something to prove and his first-half performance against the Jets was all the Bengals needed to secure their first win.
Obtaining their second win should prove to be a little more challenging. The Browns have faced a season-long struggle of finding their way and are just barely alive in the AFC Wild Card race. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been more of whom the Browns thought he’d be this year following their Week 7 bye, but the team is just 3-3 since then. Mayfield played through a thumb injury this past Sunday, though the injury shouldn’t keep the second-year player out from this game.
Mayfield was perhaps the pivotal reason the Browns swept the Bengals last season; his 10.82 Adjusted Yards per Attempt from both games combined gave Cleveland its first season sweep over Cincinnati since 2002. Since the Browns beat the Bengals in their second meeting in 2001, those 2002 games gave the Browns three consecutive victories over the Bengals, which is the last that has happened too.
The Browns have a chance to do that again on Sunday at home, and the Bengals will be doing everything in their power to prevent that from happening. For all the latest news and updates regarding the Battle of Ohio, follow this stream.