The Cleveland Browns squandered a chance to put themselves in playoff position with a loss at Pittsburgh last week and now face long odds to end a postseason drought that stretches back to 2002. The Browns will focus on just this week when they host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Advice: Do you want to bet on NFL? Check our America's Bookie Sportsbook Review
"Moving forward, we are going to do the same thing because I know this, we have a zero percent chance unless we take care of what we can take care of, and that is just to go 1-0 this week," Cleveland coach Freddie Kitchens told reporters. "We are about to play a Cincinnati team that is coming off of their first win. Their confidence is going to be at an all-time high. We understand that and respect that, but we also know that is more about us than anything else." The Browns had a three-game winning streak come to an end with last week's 20-13 setback and need to win their four remaining games and get some help to earn a wild-card spot in the AFC. The Bengals became the last NFL team to earn their first win when they topped the New York Jets 22-6 last week, snapping a string of five straight games scoring 17 points or fewer. "The biggest thing is now we need to learn how to handle winning and find a way to be consistent with this," Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor told reporters. "Although that was our first win and it's a good step in the right direction, now the key is we need to be consistent with it. You can't change your approach."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Browns -7.5 O/U: 41.5
ABOUT THE BENGALS (1-11): Taylor benched long-time starting quarterback Andy Dalton during the team's winless start but went back to him last week and was rewarded with 243 passing yards, one touchdown, no turnovers and a victory. "He did a great job as a leader, even in his time away," Taylor told reporters of Dalton. "Anytime someone is thrust back into that role that the team has great respect for, it naturally elevates them, and he's an excellent leader on top of that. He gets a lot out of the guys. They certainly believe in him." Dalton's TD pass was the 198th of his career, breaking a tie with Ken Anderson for the most in franchise history.
ABOUT THE BROWNS (5-7): Cleveland went into Pittsburgh with plenty of confidence and emotion after a win over the rival Steelers two weeks earlier included a fight and numerous suspensions and fines, but the emotion didn't translate to improved execution. "The next time we are in that situation, I expect us to respond better," Kitchens told reporters. "I expect to do a better job. I expect my coaches to do a better job. I expect our corners to do a better job, our running backs, our quarterbacks - I expect everyone to get better from experience. Yeah, I think all of these things that come up during the course of a football season make you better moving forward." The Browns face Cincinnati twice in the remaining four games but also have to travel to Arizona and host the NFL-best Baltimore Ravens.
1. Bengals WR John Ross (sternoclavicular joint) was activated from IR on Tuesday and is expected to play Sunday for the first time since Week 4.
2. Browns QB Baker Mayfield (hand contusion) expects to play Sunday while LT Greg Robinson cleared concussion protocol and returned to practice this week.
3. Cleveland took both meetings last season, snapping a string of seven consecutive wins for Cincinnati.