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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Low-scoring affair, less than 40 total points

It's no secret that AFC North matchups tend to get ugly, not only in terms of chippiness, fighting, and cheap shots but also in the sense that they can be low-scoring games where the defenses continuously keep the offense at bay and it quickly becomes a game of inches and field goals rather than yards and touchdowns.

Out of all 13 AFC North divisional games (including the Bengals vs. Ravens Wild Card game) last year, five of them had a total score of <40, three of which the Bengals and Browns were responsible for, including their second game in Cincy.

The Bengals' defense was a top-10 unit last year and should continue to stifle opposing offenses this year despite the loss of both Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell in free agency. Meanwhile, the Browns' defense performed well against the Bengals' offense, holding them to just 36 points in the two games they played against one another, which is 18.0 points a game, far below the 26.1 points per game they averaged in all of 2022.

Looking past the stats, the circumstances heading into Sunday don't indicate that it'll be an offensive shootout, namely when you look at the quarterbacks. For one, it still is left up in the air whether or not Burrow will be playing week one as of my writing this, and even if he does play, chances are he'll start slow like he did last year after missing weeks of training camp leading up into the regular season.

As for Watson, while many may attribute his poor play last year to rust, there are good reasons to believe you won't see substantial improvement from him this year, such as his weapons outside of Amari Cooper not being anything to gawk at, or the fact he has more pressure on him to perform well this year than last, as argued in this article by Zachary Roberts over at sportskeeda.

Again, just the simple fact that history tells us AFC North matchups, more often than not, are defensive struggles rather than high-scoring affairs. That trend will continue in this season opener.