The state of Ohio is in store for a huge showdown this Sunday as both of its NFL football teams (Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns) will be facing each other in what should be a thrilling AFC North contest.
The Cincinnati Bengals will be the home team in this matchup as it will be played at the Paul Brown Stadium, and with their record of 8-4 compared to the Cleveland Browns’ 5-7 record, many feel the advantage is with the home side!
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Cincinnati Bengals are favorites to overcome the battle of Ohio!
While the record mentioned above will undoubtedly be why so many feel that the Bengals will be the victorious franchise in this battle, it is also possible to point to the players and how well they have been playing throughout the season for the team.
Of course, when thinking of Cincy, many will immediately think of individuals such as quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, especially given the connection that they have on the field that has clearly been rekindled from their college days together at LSU.
However, it has also become very important to take note of individuals elsewhere on the team, with stars such as Joe Mixon proven to be exceptional when given the ball. In contrast, others on the defense have equally been impressive.
Bengals player stats
Starting with the quarterback, a player that happens to get better and better with each passing NFL season that he is a starter, Burrow continues to make it impossible to believe that he is only in his third season as a leading franchise player.
Burrow has been able to throw for a total of 3,446 passing yards and 25 touchdowns, thus showing that there are no signs of him slowing down in regard to his own production. His offensive weapons have clearly been crucial to helping him be as effective as possible, though.
Chase leads the stats in terms of receiving touchdowns at six, while Tee Higgins has been a solid outlet for the quarterback, with a total of 861 receiving yards thus far as we enter the Week 14 contest on Sunday, December 11. Mixon has been there when handing the ball off, with the running back rushing for 605 yards and six touchdowns. He does also have 919 all-purpose yards.
As mentioned, the defense has also come up big throughout the season, which is why so many have already signaled Cincinnati as the favorite to win this encounter. Vonn Bell has four interceptions this season, while Germain Pratt has been a tackling machine with 78. Trey Hendrickson has 6.0 sacks on the year, too.
Easy to understand why the Bengals are favorites for the Battle of Ohio
Without even mentioning the Cleveland Browns in this article thus far, it is easy to see why so many are high up on the Bengals at this moment; many of which are already looking forward to the future when they can place bets in the state on the team and their chances of being successful in the NFL.
Indeed, with the arrival of licensed Sports Betting sites in Ohio expected to happen in the imminent future, many sportsbooks will already be positioning themselves to provide Bengals fans with the markets, odds, and even pre-registration bonuses that can be utilized once the activity does go live in the state.
However, with it being a battle between two sides from the same state, it is perhaps important to consider what the Cleveland Browns will bring to the field when they meet at the Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday, December 11.
Don’t rule out the Browns completely
Although it is hard to look beyond the Bengals as the favorites to win this encounter, the Browns is a team that can still cause a number of issues on the field for the best teams, especially one that they are directly competing with in the AFC North.
Naturally, the 5-7 record that they have does not make for positive reading given how well the opposition has been playing recently, things have started to change for the Kevin Stefanski-led organization on the gridiron.
In their last two contests, the Browns have managed to win back-to-back contests against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23-17 in O/T at home) while also recording a 27-14 road victory against the Houston Texans last week. Let’s not forget, the last time these two teams met, the Browns were victorious 32-13 on November 1.
The win against the Texans will have been notable for another sporting news reason aside from the fact that they won, as Deshaun Watson was able to take to the field for the first time as a Browns player. He managed to record 12 completed passes from 22 attempts totaling 131 passing yards, although it was clear that there was some rust in his performance as he also threw an interception while a passing touchdown was not recorded.
However, with the QB in the lineup and with more reps being taken during practice, the Browns could have every possibility of taking home what would be considered a shock win and leaving everyone in the AFC North feeling a little tense regarding the situation of the division as we head toward the postseason.
What would the AFC North look like for either team?
With both teams involved in the AFC North, this Battle of Ohio contest can provide even more for the team that is able to win it than an increased number in the win column at the end of it.
The division has been incredibly tight this season, with both the Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens going toe-to-toe with each other and both sitting at 8-4 at the top, while the Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been trying to catch up as they both sit with identical records, too, at 5-7.
A win for the Bengals will keep them in the hunt for the postseason as a potential division champion, depending on what the Ravens do, while a win for the Browns will see them close the gap on their Ohio rivals and potentially throw them into contention at this late stage of the regular season.