Week 14 vs. Browns
On paper, putting the Browns as one of the hardest matchups seems stupid. I mean, they're 3-6 at the time of me writing this, no way they'll give the Bengals that much trouble. Wrong. The Browns, no matter how good or bad they've been the last few seasons, continue to beat and embarrass Cincinnati in what has been a consistently one-sided Battle of Ohio.
Since the decade started, the Browns are a perfect 5-0 against the Bengals. They could be the worst team in the league, yet they seem to always find a way to best their in-state rivals twice a year as of late.
In short, they are to us as what the Steelers were to us throughout the 2010s. Our bigger brothers. Joe Burrow has managed to lead this team to greatness in his young career, yet, for whatever reason, the Browns consistently have his number, as some of his worst games have come against the team up north.
To make matters worse, they'll likely have controversial star quarterback Deshaun Watson back for this game, so that's someone they'll have to scheme heavily around if he indeed does return and is playing in that game.
The Bengals will need to play better than they have all season if they want a shot at playing football deep into January. Their remaining schedule is tough, as they're are still some games (such as playing in Tampa, in New England, or at home against the Ravens) that I could've included here. And with how tight the AFC is, as well as the Ravens actually being healthy for once, I don't think 10 wins will cut it like it did last year.