Cincinnati Bengals: 5 most difficult matchups on 2021 schedule
Most Difficult Matchups on Cincinnati Bengals 2021 Schedule
No. 3: Cleveland Browns
It still feels strange to include the Browns on a list of toughest opponents but give credit where credit is due — The Browns have improved mightily and deserve their due diligence. They made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2002 and won a playoff game against the Steelers. It makes sense that Browns fans would realistically expect this team to take the next step and make it deeper into the postseason.
The reason why I don’t have the Browns higher is that the Bengals have played well against them, even last year when the Browns were the far better team. Cincinnati made games of both meetings, losing by five in the first meeting and by a field goal in the second meeting. They proved they could keep up with Cleveland and Joe Burrow went blow-for-blow with Baker Mayfield and now has Ja’Marr Chase at his disposal.
I’ll be shocked if one of the Bengals’ battles with the Browns isn’t a primetime affair (maybe Thursday Night Football again?) because both games were competitive last season and the battle of Ohio is an important one. The Browns have taken the next step and are getting respect around the league, which is why they’re one of the toughest opponents on Cincy’s schedule for 2021.