It’s Week 18, but the playoffs have yet to commence. We’re in a new era of NFL football, and the Cincinnati Bengals have emerged as a contender.
While the first 17th regular season game in Bengals history may not have much importance, there’s never a time when this team won’t want to beat the Cleveland Browns. One last game on the shores of Lake Erie stands between the Bengals and the postseason.
Joe Burrow won’t be on the field, that’s one thing we know for sure. He’ll be on the sidelines in uniform or in street clothes, giving advice to Brandon Allen as the team’s backup quarterback hopes to lead the team to its first 11-win season since 2015.
Allen may not be expected to drop back and pass much, but when he does, a couple of his receivers will be wanting the ball to cross some thresholds.
Tyler Boyd needs a big game (172 yards) to cross 1,000 yards on the season for the third time in his career. Boyd passing the millennium mark would also give the Bengals three 1,000-yard receivers. Only three teams in league history have achieved this feat, with the 2008 Arizona Cardinals being the last. That team made the Super Bowl, by the way.
Ja’Marr Chase also has history on the line. He’s 12 yards away from surpassing Chad Johnson’s Bengals rookie record and 45 shy of the all-time rookie record. Preserving Chase, and Boyd for that matter, may become more important as the game progresses.
The Browns have only pride to play for, and you can expect plenty of running against the Bengals’ defense. It will act as a nice warmup for Lou Anarumo’s defense, as they expect to face run-centric teams in the playoffs. Nick Chubb has always been a menace against Cincinnati, and that won’t change just because the Browns are out of the playoff race.
It’s the last Battle of Ohio until next season. This story stream has all the news, updates, and analysis you need!