Kickoff Sunday, Sep 10th 1:00pm Eastern

Bengals (
25.0) at

Browns (
22.5)

Over/Under 47.5

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Key Matchups
Bengals Run D
28th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
21st DVOA/25th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
21st DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
26th DVOA/13th Yards per pass
Browns Run D
5th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
22nd DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
2nd DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
14th DVOA/26th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By hilow >>
  • One of the more interesting game environments of the week, with my ultimate interest likely to come down to expected ownership.
  • Lou Anarumo remains one of the most intricate defensive philosophizers in the league but has been prone to over-commitment in certain situations, as in, he has a tendency to overanalyze certain situational play-calling spots during a game, which can expose his defense to unwarranted mismatches.
  • Anarumo lost two top-level safeties this offseason, which could exacerbate those tendencies to start the season.
  • Newcomer defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz should instill a defense primarily based on man coverage alignments based on previous coaching tendencies.
  • Surprise, surprise – Ja’Marr Chase represents the clearest path to this game environment opening up after posting truly absurd numbers against primary man coverages in 2022.

How cincinnati Will Try To Win ::

It was a tale of two seasons for the Bengals as far as offensive tendencies went. The Bengals ran a neutral offense during the first five weeks of the 2022 season but led the league in pass rate over expectation from Week 6 on. From my offseason preview of this team, “The Bengals return the bulk of their offense after finishing the previous two seasons ranked seventh and ninth in points per game, respectively. The biggest changes for the offense heading into 2023 are the additions of left tackle Orlando Brown and tight end Irv Smith, each of whom should be considered a significant upgrade at their respective positions. The offensive core of quarterback Joe Burrow, wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, and running back Joe Mixon have all played together for the previous three seasons, adding a level of continuity that is seemingly unmatched around the league. The Bengals (and the rest of the AFC North) get a solid break through the NFL schedule makers, with eight of their games in 2023 coming against AFC South and NFC West opponents, two divisions that should be considered amongst the weaker divisions in the league. One of the more unheralded aspects of the bull case to be made for the Bengals entering 2022 is the departure of two of the better safeties in the league, Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell, both of whom departed this offseason in free agency. The defense did add one of the better nickel corners through the addition of Mike Hilton, but the state of their secondary adds to a level of expected (or projected) aggression from their offense that should serve to bolster expected pass numbers this year. As in, it is possible the Bengals are involved in more shootouts when compared to the previous three seasons.” I include that in the write-up for Week 1 because this is one of the more surefire assertions I made this offseason.

The run game saw Samaje Perine depart in free agency, likely to be replaced by either Trayveon Williams or Chris Evans. Rookie fifth-round back Chase Brown is likelier to serve as depth for the early-down role than he is to contribute as a change of pace or pass-down specialist. Williams missed the entirety of the preseason but is expected to be healthy on Sunday, while Evans seemingly was on track to overtake Williams for the change of pace role prior to an injury of his own in preseason. Either way, it is highly likely the backfield dynamics remain similar to what we saw last season with Joe Mixon the lead back and either Williams or Evans mixing in for a change of pace role. The Browns ranked 30th in rush defense EPA a season ago, but the shift to a scheme with heavier roots in man coverages should help to bolster that number moving forward, considering the likely allocation of additional assets to the box. That should help to lower the significant 1.81 yards allowed before contact allowed by this defense in 2022.

Reemphasizing the above excerpt, the heart of this offense should continue to be the pass offense, primarily running through Chase with a significant supporting cast of Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Irv Smith. As we hammered throughout the 2022 season, Tee Higgins was closer to a “true two” than he was to the “co-alpha” that the field seemed to think he was throughout the bulk of last year, meaning his inclusion in the “supporting cast” section of the previous sentence was purposeful. Furthermore, the hit rate of quarterback Joe Burrow was almost directly tied to the production of Chase, but we did see a couple of games where an additional member of the offense provided a GPP-worthy score in conjunction with Burrow and Chase. One of the most interesting angles in this game is to think through the likeliest path to an explosion, which likely comes via Ja’Marr Chase against a defensive scheme that we expect to utilize increased rates of man coverage. Of qualified pass-catchers, Chase ranked third in fantasy points per route run against man coverage in 2022, behind only Christian Watson and Jerry Jeudy. That setup provides a clear path to eruption from the Cincinnati pass offense.

How cleveland Will Try To Win ::

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