Myles Garrett is held to no sacks and other bold predictions for Week 1 vs. Browns

  • The revamped offensive line holds Myles Garrett to zero sacks
  • Not as much offense as we thought
  • Big day for Mixon
  • Welcome to the show, rook!
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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It has been a long off-season, but football is finally back! The Cincinnati Bengals kick off their 2023 regular season campaign against a familiar foe residing in the same state, the Cleveland Browns. As of late, their northern Ohio counterparts have had their number, with Cincinnati only achieving one win in their six matchups of the Joe Burrow era (so far...).

Still, that's no reason to be pessimistic heading into Week 1. After all, past matchups don't determine the outcome of future ones, and even if they did, Cincy was the one to come out victorious in their last game against Cleveland.

Will the Bengals' luck against the Browns turn around and start the season off with a '1' in the win column? We'll have to wait and see...

For now, though, as we wait with anticipation to watch Burrow (if he's ready for Week 1) sling the ball downfield to his endlessly talented trio of receivers and witness Lou Anarumo put on another defensive masterclass, let's throw out a few bold predictions of what we might see in another edition of this hard-fought in-state rivalry.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

Myles Garrett is stifled and doesn't get a single sack on Burrow/Browning

Like fellow Brown Nick Chubb, Garrett has been no short of dominant against the Bengals, recording 11.0 sacks and two forced fumbles in his nine matchups against Cincy, with only one game where he didn't get to the quarterback at all, back in 2018. Last year, in the two games they played, the imposing defensive end recorded 3.5 sacks, making him more effective against the Bengals in their 2022 series than years prior.

However, this year, Garrett won't have that same impact against them, at least not in this first game. While the offensive line wasn't as good as expected in 2022 (although they did improve as the season went on), there were pieces to build on from it.

While you could argue that La'el Collins was a letdown, center Ted Karras and guard Alex Cappa were stalwarts of that unit and the two bright spots that really stood out. Guard Cordell Volson, while far from perfect, was also solid and a nice surprise considering he was a Day 3 pick.

It was the tackle positions where most of the blame could be allotted, especially with Jonah Williams, as he gave up 12 sacks, leading the league in this stat. Collins did improve after hitting a low point against his former team in Week 2, though still wasn't as advertised.

The Bengals made sure to address that in free agency, signing former Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to a four-year, $64 million deal. While both Chiefs and Ravens fans have been telling Cincy fans all off-season that he's not as good in pass protection as we'd like to think-- which, granted, does have some merit-- I doubt he won't be an improvement.

The only part of this O-line that truly concerns me is that Williams, who was by far the weakest part of it in 2022, is still starting. Especially since he is coming off a knee injury suffered in their Wild Card win over the Ravens and requested a (now recanted) trade in the off-season.

Of course, these sorts of things can have a negative effect on play, but I'm saving those thoughts for now. After all, this is the last year of his contract and his future in Cincinnati is uncertain, so this could very well encourage him to improve from his poor performance last season to prove his value to either the Bengals or someone else if he ends up hitting the free agency market.

With all this in mind, I don't think Garrett's pass rush is as effective in their Week 1 matchup as it has been in previous ones.