The Cleveland Browns have already punched their ticket to the 2024 playoffs, so this game could be viewed as more of a preseason bout in terms of its importance to the organization.
Though the Browns don’t need to win this game, there is one benefit to being victorious over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 18. If they beat the Bengals on Sunday, it would be the first time that Cleveland has won 12 games in a season since 1986.
Despite the Bengals' offense being able to find a bit of excitement with Jake Browning at quarterback, they still show two huge weaknesses every week.
The Bengals’ defense continues to be one of the worst in the NFL
Cincinnati’s defensive unit has been incredibly bad over the second half of the season, in almost every major defensive category. Here are some of their defensive statistics and ranks as of Week 18.
- Opponent yards per game: 382.8 (31st in NFL)
- Opponent 3rd down conv. %: 42.08% (26th in NFL)
- Opponent points per game: 23.1 (21st in NFL)
- Opponent yards per play: 6.1 (32nd in NFL)
Bengals Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo hasn’t been able to remedy the team's defensive woes in 2023, and it’s safe to say that it won’t get any better this weekend.
Cincinnati can’t run the football
Over the last three games, the Bengals have only averaged 81 rushing yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry despite the team running the ball even more than they did during the first half of the season.
Seeing as though they have a great running back in Joe Mixon and a fairly decent offensive line, it’s pretty puzzling as to why they can’t get anything going on the ground right now. Jake Browning has also been adequate when throwing the football as well, so defenses haven’t been stacking the box either.
What’s your score prediction for the Bengals game on Sunday? Join fellow Browns fans in the comment section below.