Freddie Kitchens preaches value of season finale matchup vs. Bengals - News & Notes

At first glance, neither the Browns nor Bengals appear to have much to play for Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cleveland's playoff hopes were eliminated last week in the loss to Baltimore, while Cincinnati secured the first overall pick of the 2020 draft in its loss to Miami.

It's certainly not how the Browns hoped to end their season, but coach Freddie Kitchens believes Cleveland has plenty to play for in its season finale.

"It's only one of 16 games through a calendar year, so you want to go out with a good feeling," Kitchens said Friday. "You leave individually and collectively with a good feeling about what we can do moving forward."

A win Sunday will secure the Browns' first back-to-back seasons of seven or more wins since 2001-2002 and improve their AFC North record to 4-2, the best divisional record the Browns have had since they finished 4-2 in the AFC Central in 1994.

Cleveland is also hoping to avenge its road woes — the Browns are 2-5 in road games — in the second half of the season.

"It's hard to win on the road in the NFL," Kitchens said. "We were fortunate enough to win our first two road games, but we haven't won a road game since. One of our challenges this week is to go to Cincinnati and play better than we've played on the road."

Kitchens said he has not considered shutting down any players Sunday, either. The Browns listed seven players as questionable Friday but did not rule anyone out for the second consecutive week.

"You've got 16 games," Kitchens said. "I don't buy into that."

-- Kitchens admired Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.’s perseverance through injuries this season. Both wide receivers have played in all 15 games thus far despite injuries that have persisted since training camp.

Landry, who was voted to the Pro Bowl last week, revealed Thursday that he has battled a nagging hip issue since the spring that began with a fracture in his lower back. Beckham has battled a hip injury all season and is 46 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards.

"I think both those guys want to be out there for their teammates," Kitchens said. "They've done a good job of pushing through it at times and getting there and competing. Those are guys that like to compete. If you like to compete, you can overcome a lot."

-- Beckham and Pharaoh Brown both missed practice Friday with an illness, and Kitchens was unsure when either player could return or if the illnesses were related.

"it just popped up today," Kitchens said. "They may be feeling better tonight. We'll just have to monitor it and see."

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