Bengals vs. Browns: Three X-factors in the Battle of Ohio

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 29: The line of scrimmage of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 29: The line of scrimmage of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Baker Mayfield (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Baker Mayfield needs to step up to avoid the hot seat

Now, typically a quarterback isn’t considered an X-factor but in the case of Baker Mayfield, who tends to have a Jekyll and Hyde quality to him, he can be counted as such.

In his third season since winning the Heisman trophy and being drafted number one overall by the Cleveland Browns, Mayfield is not in the position he thought he would be. After piecing together a successful rookie season that breathed life into the Browns’ organization, he came back down to earth last year with a mediocre campaign. Now, there is a small, but growing, contingency that believes Mayfield has shown he does not have what it takes to be a starting quarterback.

While the Baltimore Ravens are a good team, there is no good explanation for why Cleveland was only able to muster up six points on Sunday. An offense that consists of Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt should be sending shivers down the spine of any defense that has to stop them. Instead, over the course of 2019 and now into 2020, that unit has vastly underperformed.

In a game that feels like it could shape the trajectory of both franchises tonight, Mayfield’s performance could also have an impact on his future career. Fans will accept that Baltimore was always going to be a difficult team to beat, but a loss to the Bengals is something else.

Letting the Bengals get out of Cleveland with a win will be placed squarely on Baker Mayfield’s throwing arm. He could show up and torch a defense that has some key personnel out. He could also lay an egg and hand the Bengals the win. The Baker that shows up will likely decide the game.

Next. Burrow gets first opportunity to outduel Mayfield. dark

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