The 2022 NFL season is coming down to the wire, so the stakes are raised for every game. The Bengals will host the Cleveland Browns at Paycor Stadium on Sunday, which means it is time for some Cincinnati Bengals Week 14 bold predictions.
Cincinnati is coming off a huge 27-24 victory over Super Bowl contenders Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City Chiefs. This marked the team’s fourth straight win. For the season, the Bengals are 8-4 and second in the AFC North, battling with the Baltimore Ravens for the division crown.
Cleveland is currently 5-7 and third in the division. Despite their negative record, the Browns won back-to-back games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans. Most notably, Week 13 marked Deshaun Watson’s debut for the team after his 11-game suspension.
With Watson now available, it is uncertain what Cleveland can bring to the table, especially against a team like Cincinnati. With that being said, here are three bold predictions for the Bengals as they play the Browns in Week 14.
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3. Cincinnati holds Deshaun Watson below a 60% completion rate
Most of the headlines surrounding the Browns recently were about the return of Deshaun Watson. After sitting out for 11 games, the quarterback played for the first time this season against his former team Houston in a 27-14 win on the road.
However, Watson did not have a debut to remember. He completed 12 out of his 22 pass attempts for just 131 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He also recorded the worst passing rating of his career at 53.4.
Unfortunately for the Browns quarterback, things should only get more difficult in Week 14. The Bengals have one of the best passing defenses in the league, allowing opponents to complete just 59 percent of their passes, the best mark in the NFL. They are also in the top three with only 11 passing touchdowns allowed.
Because of that, the bold prediction is that Cincinnati’s defense will have another solid showing on Sunday. The unit will hold Watson to another poor passing performance, making him complete less than 60 percent of his passes in another difficult outing.
2. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase connect for 100+ yards, at least one touchdown
One of the biggest reasons the Bengals reached the Super Bowl last season was the reunion between Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. The former LSU Tigers tandem became one of the most dangerous QB-WR combinations in the league, which resulted in Burrow winning NFL Comeback Player of the Year and Chase taking home the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and earning a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie.
However, the duo suffered a setback this season. The wideout suffered a hip injury in Week 6 and got worse in Week 7, which ended up sidelining him for four straight games. Despite his absence, Cincinnati managed to go 3-1 in that span. Chase returned to the lineup against the Chiefs, finishing with seven receptions for 97 yards.
Now that Chase seems fully recovered, fans have many reasons to think the LSU duo is back at its best form. When healthy, the wide receiver had three games with at least 100 yards. For the season, he has 54 catches for 702 yards and six touchdowns.
The bold prediction is that Burrow and Chase will have a great game on Sunday. Expect Chase to lead the team after recording 100-plus receiving yards plus at least one touchdown. If that happens, the Bengals will be in a solid position to take the Week 14 victory over the Browns.
1. Bengals win by double-digits
At the end of the day, this Browns-Bengals matchup should be one of the most interesting games of the weekend. On one side, a young team trying to go even further and finally win a Super Bowl ring. On the other, a more experienced roster that now has all its best options available.
The question remains if Watson will be back to his Pro-Bowl form in only his second game of the year. All things considered, FanDuel lists the Bengals as the favorites to win this Week 14 contest. The spread is currently -5.5, showing that Cincinnati does have some advantage over Cleveland.
Based on how Cincinnati has been playing recently, it is difficult to think they cannot continue its four-game winning streak. The victory over the Chiefs was a strong example that the Bengals are back to their 2021 form after a subpar 5-4 start. Now, especially with Chase back in the starting lineup, they are even more of a threat in the AFC.
This contest should not be close for too long. Expect Burrow and the Bengals to open a comfortable lead in the first half and keep it throughout the day. By the final whistle, the bold prediction is that Cincinnati will win by double-digits and perhaps even steal the AFC North lead from the Ravens