Danger Zone: Baker Mayfield, Browns look to close out home schedule with win

First sweep of Bengals since ‘02, winning record in North on the line in home finale

Daryl Ruiter
December 23, 2018 - 10:09 am

© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – After beating the Carolina Panthers 26-20 on Dec. 9, Baker Mayfield looked up at the stands where he saw rows of empty orange seats.

It was not the scene he envisioned for a home field advantage, but the fans have responded by selling out the home finale and the Browns expect their largest in-stadium crowd of the season when they host the Cincinnati Bengals.

“It makes it fun,” Mayfield said. “Not like a lot of that is playing into how the game goes, but that makes it all the more enjoyable. When you have that support, when you have people that have those shirts, those sayings and you wake up and you see those people wearing those shirts and say those things when you are on the streets, it makes it fun and it makes it feel like this is a whole team effort, which it is.”

While the east end zone is still the ‘Dawg Pound’ Sunday afternoon Browns superfan 'Pumpkinhead' has dubbed the west end zone the ‘Danger Zone’ and a 6-foot sign will be hung over the visitors' tunnel.

"It doesn't surprise me that the fans are jumping on the bandwagon for everything,” Interim head coach Gregg Williams said. “I think it's fantastic. That's why we love playing at home. I can't wait to hear them. I think it's pretty cool, I really do."

The Browns kept it all business this past week as they look to finish the season 5-2-1 at home, secure their first winning record in the AFC North ever, tie their most divisional wins in a season since 2002 at 3 and secure no worse than a third-place finish in the division.

Last week – Bengals beat the Raiders 30-16, Browns beat the Broncos 17-16

Last Time – Nov. 25, 2018: Browns 35, Bengals 20  

Series – Bengals lead 50-44

Rankings – Points scored: Bengals 14 (24.1), Browns 19 (22.1)

Yards: Bengals 25 (326.2), Browns 16 (355.8)

Rushing: Bengals 23 (103.9), Browns 13 (121.2)

Passing: Bengals 23 (222.3), Browns 16 (234.6)

Points allowed: Bengals 31 (29.5), Browns 22t (24.9)

Yards allowed: Bengals 32 (413.0), Browns 29 (401.1)

Rushing yards allowed: Bengals 29 (142.4), Browns 24 (126.1)

Passing yards allowed: Bengals 29 (270.6), Browns 30 (275.1)

Turnover ratio: Bengals 17t (0), Browns 4t (+9)

Probable Starters – Offense: WR Jarvis Landry, TE Darren Fells, LT Greg Robinson, LG Joel Bitonio, C JC Tretter, RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Chris Hubbard, QB Baker Mayfield, TE David Njoku, WR Rashard Higgins, RB Nick Chubb

Defense: DE Myles Garrett, DT Larry Ogunjobi, DT Trevon Coley, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, WILL Genard Avery, MIKE Joe Schobert, SAM Jamie Collins, CB Terrance Mitchell, CB TJ Carrie, FS Damarious Randall, SS Jabrill Peppers

Injury report – Questionable: DT Larry Ogunjobi (biceps), SS Jabrill Peppers (neck), C JC Tretter (ankle), OL Austin Corbett (foot), CB Phillip Gaines (knee), LB Tanner Vallejo (hamstring)

Expected to play: TE David Njoku (knee/thigh), CB Denzel Ward (concussion), CB Justin Burris (shoulder), LB Jamie Collins (shoulder), CB Terrance Mitchell (wrist), LB Joe Schobert (knee), DB Tavierre Thomas (abdomen)

Broadcast – Radio: 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX and the University Hospitals Cleveland Browns radio network. TV: NFL Network, WOIO CBS-19

Kickoff – 1:03 p.m. – FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio

Our prediction – Browns 30, Bengals 20