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Browns vs. Bengals: Week 18 Need to Know

Cleveland closes out the regular season with a trip to Cincinnati. Here is everything you need to know about the game.

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Cleveland Browns Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns will close out the regular season on Sunday as they visit the Cincinnati Bengals.

It has been 17 long weeks since these teams last met in Week 1, a day that saw the roll over the Bengals for their ninth win in the last 11 meetings.

There will be several new faces on the field this time around, however, as the Browns are resting as many key starters as they can with the playoffs secured, while the Bengals are closing out an impressive run of 56 consecutive seasons without a league title.

It’s Jeff Driskel and as many backups as the Browns can field vs. Jake Browning and a Bengals team looking to avoid going winless in the AFC North and pick up their version of a Super Bowl victory over a playoff team.

Here is everything you need to know about the game.

Game Info

Records: Cleveland is 11-5. Cincinnati is 8-8.

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

Stadium: Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

TV: CBS

Announcers: Tom McCarthy, James Lofton, Jay Feely and Tiffany Blackmon (sideline reporter)

Radio: ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX, 89.1 FM La Mega (Spanish)

Announcers: Jim Donovan, Nathan Zegura, Jerod Cherry (sideline reporter)

First meeting: The Browns won the first meeting, 30-27, on October 11, 1970.

Last meeting: The Browns won the most recent meeting, 24-3, in Week 1 of this season.

All-time series: The Bengals lead the all-time series, 52-48. The Browns have won nine of the last 11 games between the two teams.

Weather: 38 degrees and cloudy, with a 17 percent chance of rain. Winds from the west at 8 mph. (weather.com)

Uniform: The Browns will be treating this like a preseason game as they will wear white jerseys with their awful brown pants.

Injury report: Browns - Out: Wide receiver Amari Cooper (heel), cornerback Mike Ford (calf), kicker Dustin Hopkins (hamstring), cornerback Greg Newsome II (knee), safety Juan Thornhill (calf) and linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. (knee). Questionable: Wide receiver Elijah Moore (concussion), punter Corey Bojorquez (left quad), wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (knee) and linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk (calf). Bengals - Doubtful: Wide receiver Tee Higgins (hamstring). Questionable: Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (shoulder) and cornerback Jalen Davis (groin).

The line: Browns +7 (DraftKings)

Some Notes to Remember

  • Cleveland safety Ronnie Hickman Jr. has embraced the team’s next man up philosophy as he was the league’s highest-graded safety for Week 17, according to Pro Football Focus.
  • Jeff Driskel will be the fifth different starting quarterback for the Browns this season. Driskel’s last start came in 2022 with the Houston Texans.
  • A loss by the Bengals would leave them at 0-6 in the AFC North, the fourth time in franchise history they would be winless in divisional play.
  • Cincinnati’s Trey Hendrickson is tied for the NFL lead with 17 sacks - a number that could increase with the Browns likely fielding a backup offensive line.
  • This week’s game poster leans into a video game theme:
  • Cleveland quarterback Joe Flacco, who will not play on Sunday, finishes the regular season as the team’s leader in passing yards (1,616), touchdown passes (13), interceptions (8) and quarterback rating (90.2).
  • Even with Flacco Fever overtaking Cleveland, the offense has only produced a positive EPA three times all season and just once since Week 10, according to The Athletic.
  • Sticking with the quarterbacks, Flacco currently ranks 29th in EPA per pass play among the 48 quarterbacks who have attempted at least 100 passes this season. While not good, it is still better than Deshaun Watson (No. 39), P.J. Walker (No. 45) and Dorian Thompson-Robinson (No. 48), according to The Athletic.
  • With a win on Sunday, the Browns would reach 12 victories in a season for just the fifth time in franchise history and the first since 1986.

In Case You Missed It

Browns schedule Week 18: Scouting the Cincinnati Bengals

Scouting Cincinnati’s Jake Browning and Week 18 approach in our Q&A with Cincy Jungle

Browns vs Bengals: 3 key players to watch in Week 18 in Cincinnati

Potential Browns Playoff Preview: Cleveland can replicate their assertive win over Houston

NFL Picks Week 18, and media picks for Browns vs. Bengals

Potential Browns Playoff Preview: Week 7 success against Colts can be repeated

Browns will still have to play some starters in Week 18 — looking at how the depth chart might shake out

Browns QB Frank Ryan passes – Led 1964 NFL Championship team

Browns add veteran O-line depth to practice squad

Joe Flacco’s playoff history: Browns QB has had a lot of success

Browns 2023 season: Turnovers, both good and bad, telling the tale

A Final Quote

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt on starting five different quarterbacks this season (quote via a team-provided transcript):

“It’s been a great experience. It’s one I’ll always cherish and remember. It’s been a unique year, challenging, (and there has) been a lot of adversity, but the room has always been solid. We always feel like we’re going to try to get whoever’s playing in the best position to win for the team. And I think Kevin (Stefanski) has really done a great job of catering how he calls the game to each player again. He’s always thinking about their strengths and then trying to protect them from their weaknesses.

“So proud of Dorian (Thompson-Robinson) and PJ (Walker) and Joe (Flacco) and Deshaun (Watson). I mean, he played through some stuff that was incredible. So, to get to where we are now has been rewarding. It’s been challenging, but it’s definitely a year that I’ll not forget.”


What are you looking for from the Browns in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Bengals?