Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals: A Fresh Rivalry on the Horizon

The Cleveland Browns have now experienced real success and may be on the cusp of the ultimate triumph in the NFL. They have made true enemies of what used to be mere rivals; the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. The one team left in the division that was never a threat, may be the one to watch now. There now may be a rivalry in the making between the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. Here is why that is possible.

Fresh Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals Rivalry May Be on the Horizon

The Bengals have never been truly respected. But they possess real talent in some areas and can’t be completely disregarded. The Browns have done what many had assumed they couldn’t. One day, the same might be said of Cincinnati. Elliot Kennel of Dawg Pound Daily has dared to say that a rivalry between the Browns and Bengals may be brewing.

Joe Burrow Is Good

Some say Joe Burrow is “really good”. He has demonstrated sound judgment, accuracy, and a quick release of the ball. His average time to throw (TT) is 2.65 seconds, compared to 3.05 seconds for Baker Mayfield.

Of course, due to a number of variables, TT isn’t the best stat to illustrate a quarterback’s abilities. It’s obvious when you compare their average completed air yards pass – Mayfield’s is 7.4 yards, Burrow’s is 5.7. Mayfield gives time for a play to develop and having a stronger arm than Burrow, throws the ball further down the field. However, no one should make the mistake of underestimating Burrow’s strength.

Browns Offense Is Still Superior

A quarterback’s performance can depend heavily upon the team’s offensive line and playmakers. Mayfield himself has always credited his teammates, especially Jarvis Landry who came up big during the playoffs. Plus, there’s the added ferocity of the Browns run game in the form of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Those two contributed in a major way to Cleveland’s success in 2020.

While not as impressive as the Browns, the Bengals do have some offensive firepower and a low interception percentage of 1.2 percent, despite a distinct lack of a ground game, which means they are throwing the ball more than they comfortably should.

The Bengals run game may still suffer because Joe Mixon can’t possibly return to averaging 1,153 yards per season after his foot injury reduced his output to 428 yards in 2020. But the Bengals drafted Chris Evans, who had unbelievably impressive Combine numbers and has huge potential and could be a star on this team.

Ja’Marr Chase May Have Been the Right Choice

The Bengals were decimated in the media for passing on offensive tackle Penei Sewell and drafting receiver Ja’Marr Chase instead. Everyone knew Burrow had no adequate protection. However, maybe the Bengals knew what they were doing.

Sewell may be talented but having opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19, the general public is basing their projections on his performance from 2019. His Combine numbers were very impressive, but not exceptional. It is difficult to predict how much protection he could have offered Burrow.

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The Bengals Offensive Line Is Fine

By drafting three offensive linemen in 2021 and signing Riley Reiff, a valuable tackle, they have added four offensive linemen to the mix. Quinton Spain and Michael Jordan are high caliber. And Jonah Williams, Trey Hopkins, and Xavier Su’a-Filo are all competent in blocking for Burrow.

Just Like Mayfield, Burrow Has a Favorite Receiver

Mayfield finally found his number one receiver in 2020 and look how well it turned out. Now Burrow will likely have that in Chase, who worked with him for two years and came highly recommended by the quarterback. If Burrow is secure in the Bengals drafting Chase over Sewell, who is anyone else to judge? It is believed Chase will play early and quickly rise to stardom. The way a quarterback and his receivers work together goes a long way in determining the outcome of a game.

The Browns have worked hard and smart to get as far as they did in 2020. They are the team to watch in the AFC North and this time for the right reasons. But now the weakest team in the division may be on the rise, and it will be fascinating to watch in 2021 and beyond.

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