COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A record-setting quarterback returns to Ohio and an AFC North showdown kicks off the second half of the 2023 NFL season.
Here are the keys to games for Week 10:
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, Nov. 12 at Paycor Stadium, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Heisman winner vs. Heisman finalist: Joe Burrow’s health has been paramount towards the Bengals’ success over the last four weeks. Winners of four straight, Cincinnati finds itself in a three-way tie for second place, one game back of the Ravens in the AFC North race. For his part, Burrow has completed 119 of 157 passes (75.8 completion percentage) and thrown 10 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. Last week against the Buffalo Bills, Burrow completed passes to eight receivers while throwing for 348 yards and two scores.
But Burrow, winner of the 2019 Heisman Trophy while at LSU, isn’t the only QB making waves in the AFC. Rookie sensation and former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is not only setting records across the league, but he’s also helped engineer the Houston Texans to a 4-4 record at the halfway point in the season. To shed light on that seemingly mundane accomplishment, the Texans haven’t won more than four games since the 2019 season.
In last week’s 39-37 comeback victory, culminated by a 46-second drive and 15-yard TD strike from Stroud to fellow rookie WR Tank Dell, Stroud set an NFL rookie record with 470 passing yards. His passer rating of 147.8 was the highest in a game by a rookie quarterback in NFL history, and he became just the sixth player to throw for 450 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. As well, Stroud, a 2021 and 2022 Heisman finalist, leads the league in touchdown-to-interception ratio at 14-1.
This game will come down to which quarterback will perform slightly better than the other. Neither team is setting the league on fire with their running games – Bengals rank dead last, the Texans rank fourth worst. Defensively they’re both in the middle of the pack, though they each fare well in the turnover department at +9 and +5 for the Bengals and Texans respectively.
Line: Bengals 6 ½. O/U: 47
Prediction: We’ll give a nod to the savvy veteran in this potential shootout ~ Bengals 34, Texans 27.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, November 12, at M&T Bank Stadium, 1 p.m. (FOX)
Battle in the trenches: In this classic division rivalry matchup, the clash begins and ends with the team’s respective running games. The Browns boast the third-best rushing attack in the league, averaging 144.1 yards per game, mostly without star RB Nick Chubb. Kareem Hunt kept his touchdown streak intact against Arizona with his fifth TD over the last four games and Jerome Ford paces the team with 425 yards at 4.0 yards per carry.
The Ravens, meanwhile, sit atop the NFL averaging 160.3 yards rushing per game. Gus Edwards has come on strong of late, scoring six TDs over the last three weeks. He and QB Lamar Jackson each have over 440 yards on the ground, though it doesn’t seem to matter who totes the rock – Rookie Keaton Mitchell had 138 yards on nine carries last week in his season debut against the Seahawks.
Elementary, my dear Watson: Last week Deshaun Watson was credited with 219 yards passing on 19-of-30 passing with two touchdowns and no turnovers. However, one of his completions soared 59 yards and one of his TD passes bounced off the helmet of an Arizona defender and right into the hands of Amari Cooper. That doesn’t mean they don’t count, but evidence otherwise suggests that outside of the long ball, Watson averaged just 5.4 yards per pass and dodged a red-zone interception.
Line: Baltimore 6. O/U: 38 ½.
Prediction: Jackson proves far superior to his counterpart in 26-16 Ravens win.