The Browns come into the contest after being able to spend the entirety of training camp and the preseason knowing that Deshaun Watson will be the starting quarterback from Week 1. Just how far the Browns go this season, and how realistic their playoff aspirations are, rests on Watson being able to regain the form he showed with the Houston Texans.
On the defensive side of the ball, Cleveland added numerous reinforcements along the defensive line, which still has the league’s best edge rusher in Myles Garrett, along with new faces in the secondary in safeties Juan Thornhill and Rodney McLoud.
The biggest addition on defense, however, may be in the form of new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
While the Browns are hoping to be a playoff contender, the Bengals are aiming higher after making it to the AFC Championship Game the past two seasons and the Super Bowl two years ago. The Bengals have yet to win a league title despite being around since 1968, but are a legitimate contender in the AFC thanks to an offense led by quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
It’s the Browns vs. the Bengals in the 100th meeting between Ohio’s favorite team and the Bengals, and here is what you need to know about the matchup.
Records: Cleveland is 0-0. Cincinnati is 0-0.
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Stadium: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: WOIO CBS
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn (sidelines)
Radio: ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX, 89.1 FM La Mega (Spanish)
Announcers: Jim Donovan, Nathan Zegura and Jerod Cherry (sidelines)
Last meeting: The Bengals won the last meeting, 23-10, in Week 14 of the 2022 season.
All-time series: Cincinnati leads the all-time series, 52-47, but the Browns have won the last five meetings at home and eight-of-10 overall in the series.
Weather: 71 degrees and cloudy, with a 23 percent chance of rain and 10 mph winds from the NNE. (weather.com)
Uniform: The Browns will be rocking their brown jerseys and orange pants combo.
Injury report: Browns - Questionable: Safety Juan Thornhill (calf). Bengals - Out: Defensive end Joseph Ossai.
The line: Browns +2 (DraftKings)
Some Notes to Remember
- Sunday’s game will be the first time the Browns have opened at home under head coach Kevin Stefanski. Cleveland is 1-2 in the previous three years in Week 1.
- With a win, Stefanski will improve his record against the Bengals to 6-1.
- Cleveland is looking to win consecutive Week 1 games for the first time since 1993 and 1994 - both wins against the Cincinnati Bengals.
ahead of the opener we're throwing it back to an instant classic ⏮— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 7, 2023
relive our 51-45 W in a Battle of Ohio shootout from Sept. 16, 2007 pic.twitter.com/tgxoMX0r5w
- The most points the Browns have scored against the Bengals is 51, which came in a 51-45 Cleveland victory in 2007. The most points the Browns have allowed to the Bengals is 58, which came in a 58-48 loss in 2004.
- Running back Nick Chubb has five 100-yard rushing games in nine career games against the Bengals.
- Defensive end Myles Garrett has 11 sacks and 21 quarterback hits in nine career games against the Bengals. He has also posted at least one sack against the Bengals in six consecutive games.
- The Browns will honor the late Jim Brown with their first game poster of the season.
First game poster of the season is extra special— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 8, 2023
Remembering Jim Brown as we honor him during the home opener pic.twitter.com/gbv3NvgSJ6
- Sunday’s game marks the first of three AFC North divisional games for the Browns in the first four weeks of the season.
In Case You Missed It
- Browns vs. Bengals: 3 things to watch
- Browns 2023 opponent’s offseason review Week 1, 18: Cincinnati Bengals
- Browns vs. Bengals: 3 Cincinnati defenders to watch in Week 1’s matchup
- Nick Chubb’s 5 best games against the Bengals
- NFL Picks Week 1 and media picks for Bengals vs. Browns
- Bengals vs Browns: Scouting the Cincinnati Bengals with our Q&A with Cincy Jungle
A Final Quote
Defensive end Myles Garrett on Cleveland’s new-look defense (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“We’re chomping at the bit, man. We haven’t all been together on the field yet. So to have this opportunity to really showcase what we can do and our talents and how hard we’ve been working, we’re ready for the opportunity.”
What are you looking for from the Browns in Sunday’s season opener against the Bengals?