Week 18 vs. Cleveland Browns
The Bengals started and will end their season with the team that's been their biggest thorn in the side: The Cleveland Browns. We have all heard how Cleveland has dominated this matchup in the 20s so far, winning six of the last seven, and it seems no matter how much better a Bengals team is on paper, their in-state rivals always get the best of them. It's like an older brother who always beats you at video games or basketball or what-have-you (if you're reading this, you know who you are).
The one exception was in their second game against one another in the 2022 season, where the Bengals managed to stifle Nick Chubb and the Browns offense to win another ugly AFC North divisional game 23-10.
They won't have to worry about Chubb as he unfortunately suffered a brutal knee injury in just their second game of the season, the first major injury of his pro career. While the optics are not as bad as they initially look on the injury he suffered, he's still confirmed to be out for the season. Regardless, it's their defense that is truly concerning.
The Browns have this guy named Myles Garrett. Ever heard of him? He's only one of the most dominant edge rushers in league history and has been a monster in every game he's played against the Bengals, recording a total of 12.0 sacks in the 10 games that he's played vs. the Stripes.
That's not all, their secondary is one of the best in the league, giving up the least amount of yards and touchdowns. Granted, they've played one less game than most other teams as they had an early bye week, but even then they're still 383 yards ahead of the team that has the least while playing five games, which is the Dallas Cowboys.
Their secondary is headlined by Ohio State alumni Denzel Ward, one of the more underrated cornerbacks in the league. They also have Greg Newsome II, Grant Delpit, and Juan Thornhill, who are solid in their own right.
Their offense struggled a lot in their last game against the Ravens, only putting up a measly three points, and no doubt losing their top playmaker and arguably the best running back in the league in Nick Chubb has a lot to do with that (Deshaun Watson also didn't play in that game).
If the Bengals can get going on offense this time around and finish with more than a field goal, then they could flip the script and get just their second win in the decade against the Browns.