With Mayfield at the controls, Cleveland had won the last four games in a row, and seven of the last eight. But, alas, Mayfield is no more, shipped unceremoniously off to the Carolina Panthers this past summer.
Prior to Mayfield’s arrival, the Bengals had dominated the Browns, winning seven in a row and 26 of the previous 38.
All signs point to Cincinnati regaining that dominance. The Bengals, who are currently favored by at least 3.5 points, boast the No. 4 passing offense in the league, averaging nearly 280 yards per game through the air. Cleveland comes in at No. 17 with an average of just over 214 yards per game.
Where the Browns are dangerous, however, is on the ground. Cleveland, led by Nick Chubb, boasts the No. 3 rushing attack in the NFL, averaging nearly 164 yards per game. Cincinnati, meanwhile, checks in at No. 28 with an average of just over 87 yards per game.
While Joe Mixon has yet to get untracked on the ground, he has started to play a much larger role in the Bengals’ offense of late. Over the last two games, Mixon has carried the ball 25 times for 103 yards (an average of 4.12 yards per carry) and a touchdown, and has caught seven passes for 56 more yards and a score.
And, of course, Cincinnati features arguably the best trio of receivers in the NFL in Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Boyd and Chase both went over 100 yards receiving against the Falcons this past Sunday, and Higgins fell just short of that mark.
Then there is quarterback Joe Burrow, who against Atlanta became the first quarterback in NFL history to have five games of 400 or more passing yards in the first three years of his career.
The Bengals, led by Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard up front and featuring one of the top cornerbacks in the league in Chidobe Awuzie, are ranked No. 11 in total defense (the Browns are No. 16), and have held opposing offenses without a second-half touchdown in seven straight games. Cincinnati is tied with the Chicago Bears at No. 7 in points allowed per game at 18.9, while Cleveland is all the way down at No. 27 at 26.6.
So who do you think will win the Halloween matchup? Let me know what you think.
Who will win Sunday night’s matchup in Cleveland?
This poll is closed
Cincinnati wins, but does not cover
Cincinnati wins and covers