Since the Cleveland Browns walked off the field at FirstEnergy Stadium with a 24-18 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 3, the team has been focused on this Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
At 4-5 and coming off of their annual bye-week break, the Browns are within 1.5 games of the front-running Bengals in the AFC North Division standings with seven to play.
Even with all of the possible distractions that could come with a high-stakes game awaiting the Browns on Sunday, coach Rob Chudzinski has enjoyed what he has seen on the practice fields of the Berea training facility throughout the week.
“The focus has been good this week in our preparation,” Chudzinski said after Friday’s practice. “I have confidence in our guys. We’re going to need to be at our best in all three phases this week for this football game, and ultimately, it will come down to us getting it done on the field.”
A win over the Bengals would do far more than just bring the Browns to within a half-game of their in-state rivals with Cincinnati due for a bye week following Sunday’s game. It would give the Browns a three-game winning streak within the AFC North Division for the first time since the current divisional structure was formed in 2002.
It would also give the Browns their first regular-season sweep over the Bengals since 2002, as well as a .500 or better record through the first 10 games of a season for the fourth time since 1999.
However, all of that is not important to Chudzinski, as he and the team continue to look at the schedule as a series of one-game seasons.
“I think it’s just the approach I’ve known over the course of the years and been experienced with that works,” Chudzinski said. “The seasons are long seasons. It’s a lot of games. We have a lot of games left. Obviously, this is an important game just like every other game is an important game.
“We haven’t played for a while. It’ll be good to get back at it. Our players are excited about the opportunity and challenge this week with Cincinnati. We can feel the excitement that the fans and the community have. I’m pleased and have been pleased with the growth and improvement of this team. I like where we’re at and the direction that we’re going.”
PREPARING FOR WEATHER
In addition to dealing with the Bengals’ pass-rush abilities and multitude of playmakers on the offensive end of the football, the Browns will have to prepare for a third opponent, Mother Nature.
Early forecasts have called for temperatures in the upper 60s, but with a 70 percent chance of rain with strong storms and winds out of the South at 21 miles-per-hour expected throughout the afternoon.
“We’ll make adjustments at game time or the night before as we get a better idea,” Chudzinski said. “The weather report typically changes every day you look at it, and that’s not uncommon at this time of year. You plan to have enough things that regardless of the type of weather, you can adjust.”
The Browns have been without the services of wide receiver
Chudzinski provided an update on Benjamin after Friday’s practice.
“Travis Benjamin had his surgery today,” Chudzinski said. “Everything went well in that regard, and we’re expecting a full recovery with Travis. We plan on him, hopefully, for training camp, and anything before that will be a bonus.”