Williams: Prediction for Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns in Battle of Ohio
The Bengals are coming off their most impressive win of the season. So am I, having predicted Cincinnati to defeat Kansas City when most others picked the Chiefs to win. This week's game is much easier to predict. Here is my weekly Bengals prediction:
NFL prediction: Cincinnati Bengals (8-4) vs. Cleveland Browns (5-7), 1 p.m., Sunday, CBS
Joe Burrow and the Bengals have been on a narrative-changing run ever since their Halloween Night debacle in Cleveland.
Four consecutive wins have transformed the Bengals from middling underachievers to the team to beat in the AFC.
There’s no better time for the surging Bengals to change another narrative: They can’t beat the Browns. Burrow has never beaten Cleveland.
The Bengals are 1-8 vs. Cleveland since 2018. The one win came three years ago this month while Burrow was still in college.
Yeah, whatever. This is a different Bengals team now.
They’ll be motivated to avenge their worst performance of the year, the 19-point loss on Monday Night Football in Cleveland in which the Bengals couldn’t run, pass, kick or play defense. The Bengals' problems were compounded by the absence of Ja’Marr Chase, who missed his first game of the season with a hip injury.
But Burrow adjusted nicely without the star receiver in the following three games. Chase returned last Sunday, leading the Bengals with 97 yards receiving.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will be making his first start in the Battle of Ohio. Expect Paycor Stadium to give the embattled Watson a rude welcoming, as Bengals fans should.
Watson will be making his second start this season after being suspended for 11 games following accusations by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct. He was rusty in last week’s debut, throwing for 131 yards, one interception and no touchdowns in the Browns’ win against lowly Houston.
Watson and the Browns will rely heavily on running back Nick Chubb, who rushed for 101 yards and two scores in the last game against Cincinnati. But the Bengals’ run defense has improved, and Cincinnati will look to shut down Chubb the way it did Tennessee’s Derrick Henry a few weeks ago.
It’s a rivalry game, so it should be close. But the Bengals are locked in. The Browns are the worst team left on the Bengals' schedule, and Cleveland won't be able to stop Cincinnati’s momentum. Burrow, the Ohio guy, will get his first victory in the Battle of Ohio.
Prediction: Bengals win, 24-17
Last week: Cincinnati defeated Kansas City, 27-24. I predicted the Bengals would win, 28-27.
My season record: 9-3
Contact columnist Jason Williams by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @jwilliamscincy.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: NFL prediction: Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns Battle of Ohio