Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season gets underway on Thursday, September 17 (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network) as the Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals in a celebration of the league's 100th birthday.
On August 20, 1920, RALPH HAY, the owner of the Canton Bulldogs, hosted a meeting at his Canton auto showroom to discuss the formation of a league – originally called the American Professional Football Association – with three other Ohio teams: the Dayton Triangles, Cleveland Indians and Akron Pros. At a second meeting held at the showroom on September 17, 1920, Pro Football Hall of Famer GEORGE HALAS, representing the Decatur Staleys (who became the CHICAGO BEARS in 1922), modeled a league-above-team perspective that shaped the genesis and longevity of the NFL for years to come.
The Week 2 matchup features the NFL's two current Ohio teams, a tribute to the birthplace of the NFL in nearby Canton. Thursday's game will be number 15,771 since the first kickoff in 1920, with the league featuring 78 franchises and 60 cities through its first century. Specifically, this will be the 94th meeting between Cleveland and Cincinnati, with the Bengals holding a 51-42 advantage in the series.
Last week, Cincinnati quarterback JOE BURROW, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, became the second rookie quarterback in franchise history to start Week 1 (ANDY DALTON in 2011). At least one rookie quarterback has started in Week 1 in 13 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950. In his debut, Burrow passed for 193 yards and rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown in Cincinnati's Week 1 loss, becoming the second quarterback to rush for at least 40 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut since 1970 (KEVIN HOGAN in 2016).
Running back JOE MIXON totaled at least 175 yards and a rushing touchdown in both games against Cleveland last season and has 592 scrimmage yards (148 per game) in his past four games against the division. Wide receiver A.J. GREEN led the team with five catches for 51 yards last week after missing the 2019 season due to injury. His 8,958 career receiving yards rank as the fourth-most in the league since 2011. Defensive end CARLOS DUNLAP had 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble against Cleveland in their Week 17 meeting last season and his 12.5 career sacks against the Browns are his most vs. any opponent. Dunlap (81.5 career sacks) and defensive tackle GENO ATKINS (75.5) are the only pair of active teammates in the NFL each with at least 75 career sacks.
In four career games against the Bengals, Cleveland quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD has a 100.5 rating and 11 touchdowns (ten passing, one rushing), his most touchdown passes vs. any opponent. Running back NICK CHUBB, who led the AFC with 1,772 scrimmage yards in 2019, has recorded at least 115 scrimmage yards in three of four career games vs. the Bengals. Running back KAREEM HUNT led the team with 72 rushing yards in the Browns' Week 1 loss and he has four touchdowns in three career games against Cincinnati. In three career games on Thursday Night Football, Hunt has 421 scrimmage yards (140.3 per game) and three touchdowns. Wide receivers JARVIS LANDRY (1,174 receiving yards) and ODELL BECHHAM JR. (1,035) were one of six pairs of teammates each with at least 1,000 receiving yards last season.
Thursday's contest marks the first of seven games exclusively televised on NFL Network this season and will be produced by FOX. The game will feature Joe Buck, Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink on the call.