Browns vs. Bengals Game Preview | Sunday 1 PM 9/10/23

September 9, 2023

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Season Opener Breakdown and Betting Prognostications

3 Things Preview Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals:

1 – Return of Watson

Many preseason discussions and proclamations have been made, but it is now time to see what Deshaun Watson will do in 2023 for the Cleveland Browns.  Yes, Watson played last year, but that has been chalked up to rust. The same will not be said if there are similar results from Watson.  It is time to win.

Pressure will not only be on Watson but also on Head Coach Kevin Stefanski.  Expectations are high, and the Stefanski, Watson combo was not brought together to go 8-9—big expectations in Berea.

2 – Defense Expectations

New Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz and the new defensive additions to the defensive line with Za’Darius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Shelby Harris, along with the leader on defense, Myles Garrett, have brought expectations of dominance on the defensive side of the ball.  It’s hard to remember a time when there’s been more anticipation to see the defensive line as a Browns fan. 

3 – Don’t Forget Chubb

With all of the buzz about how Watson will perform and dominating defensive dreams, the Browns hopefully remember that they have one of the best players in the NFL with running back Nick Chubb.  Chubb is the heart and soul of the Browns, even with everything else that has been mentioned heading into the 2023 season.


The Browns have recently faired well against the Bengals, going 6-2 in the past eight meetings. The Bengals will strut out Joe Burrow and his talented wide receivers, but the Browns in the past always seem to outperform the Bengals’ offensive firepower. 

I believe the Browns will erupt on defense and give Burrow fits all day.   

Browns win, Browns win!  Take the +2, Browns 24-17 over the kitty cats.

Browns Notes

The Browns, who missed the playoffs last season, have experienced a tumultuous offseason leading up to 2022. However, as they prepare for the upcoming Sunday game, they hope for a return to normalcy and a victory in the season opener against Cincinnati. A win at home would set the tone for the AFC North, even if home-field advantage wasn’t as significant last year. The key to their success will be establishing balance on both offense and defense, particularly dominating the line of scrimmage. Last season, they struggled with inconsistent play on both the offensive and defensive lines, plagued by injuries and off-field issues that disrupted their rhythm.

As the Browns head into the season opener, they face some injury concerns of their own, with a slightly longer injury report compared to the Bengals. While their offensive unit seems relatively healthy, the defensive side could be stretched thin. In the secondary, two cornerbacks are already ruled out, and Juan Thornhill (calf) and Denzel Ward (concussion) are listed as questionable.

The offense needs to operate with greater efficiency in both the passing and rushing aspects compared to the previous year, where they heavily relied on the running game. Deshaun Watson is expected to perform better, especially without the distractions from last season. However, the wide receiver corps remains thin. Nick Chubb, who rushed for 1,500 yards last season, is likely to be heavily involved once again. His ability to gain first downs will be crucial, though the absence of Kareem Hunt as a relief option raises questions about his efficiency.

Defensively, there are significant concerns in the secondary due to injuries, with four players at those positions unavailable. Facing one of the league’s top passing offenses will pose a challenge. Fortunately, Myles Garrett, with his 16 sacks, returns to provide a strong pass rush that should alleviate some pressure on the secondary. Keep an eye on Grant Delpit, who recorded 105 tackles and 4 interceptions, as he seeks to make an impact against Higgins and Chase.

Bengals Notes

On Thursday night, the Cincinnati Bengals grabbed attention by announcing a groundbreaking contract for their quarterback, signaling their intent to maintain the high level of performance they’ve cultivated in recent seasons. Despite winning the division last season, they aim to kick off this season differently after a defeat in Cleveland. With a roster boasting abundant talent, particularly in the latter half of the previous season, they were arguably the NFL’s top team until their playoff loss to the Chiefs. Now, two years removed from a Super Bowl loss, there’s little doubt that this team can reach elite status on both offense and defense on any given night, making a victory against the Browns imperative.

As the kickoff draws near, Cincinnati has concerns about a few injuries, most notably the status of Joe Burrow (calf), who is likely to play despite his training camp setback, and Tyler Boyd (toe). On the defensive side, all eyes are on Joseph Ossai (ankle), whose availability is uncertain but could be a game-changer on the defensive line.

Assuming Burrow continues on his path to starting, the offense should thrive on the road. Burrow, with over 4,400 passing yards last season, benefits from a formidable receiving duo in Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, making the passing game a significant asset, especially against the Browns. Complementing this aerial threat is a dependable running back in Joe Mixon, providing the team with a balanced offensive strategy capable of controlling the clock and the game.

Defensively, the Bengals boast a wealth of talent, including standout linebacker Logan Wilson (123 tackles). However, it’s their secondary, anchored by Vonn Bell (4 interceptions) and Jessie Bates III (4 interceptions), that has consistently turned heads in recent years. Facing a formidable opponent in the Browns, their ability to prevent big plays in the passing game will be pivotal to the Bengals’ success.

Pay The Man His Money Picks

The season is finally here! After making bets just to get in on the action during the preseason, it’s time to find some real winners. With player props, game props, and all kinds of additional markets available during the regular season, expect more high-quality picks for the regular season.

Regular Season Picks Record: 0-0

Best Bets for Browns vs. Bengals Week 1

Nick Chubb over 76.5 rushing yards (-120)

In 2022, Nick Chubb surpassed this line in 76% of games. He went over the mark in six out of the last seven games, reaching the 90-yard mark four times. Against the Bengals, Chubb has gone over in six of eight matchups with at least ten carries, including one out of two last year. He has exceeded this line in seven of his last eight home games.

The Bengals received a pedestrian 65.4 run defense grade in 2022, while the Browns finished eighth in run block grade. Without Kareem Hunt, Chubb is currently projected to have 17.8 carries on Sunday. In the last two seasons, Chubb has gone over 76.5 rushing yards in 16 out of 18 games with at least 17 attempts. The revamped spread offense should limit defenders in the box, and I expect a heavy dose of Chubb to relieve the pressure on the passing game.

Elijah Moore has over 32.5 receiving yards (-130)

Over the last two seasons, Elijah Moore has gone over in 12 out of 16 games with at least 30 pass snaps. After the trade to Cleveland, I fully expect Moore to be a featured player in this revamped Browns’ offense. He has explosive play ability and could surpass this line in a single snap.

The Bengals were more of a zone-based team schematically a year ago, and Moore should benefit from playing in the slot and finding weak spots in their defense. He averaged nearly two yards per route run in the last two seasons against zone defense, and last year he performed significantly better against zone than man coverage. I anticipate Moore being a significant part of the offensive game plan and should easily exceed this line if he gets 30 snaps.


Week one has finally arrived after much anticipation and excitement during the offseason. The hype couldn’t be any higher with a week one matchup against divisional rival Bengals, and we should be in for a great game. For the Browns, the defensive line is key to setting the tone in both facets of the game. Limiting Joe Mixon to minimal gains while creating a cluttered pocket to alleviate pressure on the defensive backs is crucial for victory. The secondary has a challenging task ahead, needing to prevent Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins from making big plays down the field. Offensively, the running game can relieve the pressure on Deshaun Watson early, and I expect Watson to make plenty of good plays later on to give us a chance. We’re in for an exciting matchup, let’s kick off 2023 on the right foot.

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