There's no doubt both of these teams are hungry for a victory. A Week 1 win is always advantageous as the season progresses and, as a divisional rivalry, could affect the standings at season's end.
We take a look at this bitter rivalry between an up-and-coming Browns squad and a Bengals team that is trying their hardest to find an identity, and try to break down the outcome.
Colt McCoy is going to regain his preseason form in Week 1 against the Bengals.
The Bengals allowed a decent 235 yards per game last season through the air, and with a rush defense that ranked 19th last season, they'll be more focused on stopping the run than the pass on Sunday. The Browns may not have the receivers to compete with a decent Bengals secondary, but watch for McCoy to be delivering the ball all over the field to various receivers. He'll be throwing screens out of the backfield, and dump off routes that will continue to move the chains for the Browns offense.
McCoy will be extremely efficient through the air and won't cause any turnovers, but won't be all that exciting in his season debut. The Bengals secondary will be able to stop the Browns receivers to the point to where they don't do all that much damage, but McCoy will work his way around that obstacle. He'll do exactly what his coaches ask of him in Week 1, but not too much more.
As mentioned prior, the Bengals rush defense ranked 19th in the league last season, allowing just over 115 rush yards per game, which could be a very good sign for Peyton Hillis.
Although the offensive line took a huge hit losing Eric Steinbach for the year, Hillis is going to find holes provided for him by the line and have a very good game on the ground. He'll only grab one touchdown, but it will be a good enough effort to the give the Browns momentum on the ground moving into a Week 2 matchup against a weak Indy rush-defense.
Hillis is going to get off to a great start against the Bengals and begin to regain his 2010 form.
Little is going to get off to a slow start, that will eventually pick up.
The Bengals have a decent secondary, and in his first NFL game, Little is not going to do much to prevent them from handling him. He'll catch a 25-yard screen, and a few dump-offs, but won't be incredibly impressive in his debut.
Watson and Moore will begin what will be a highly impressive season as the Browns' tight end duo this season. Both of them have tremendous skill sets, and both will help Colt McCoy to groom into this West Coast system very nicely.
Moore and Watson will do some major damage on crossing routes against the Bengals linebackers and secondary, and give McCoy a big sense of comfort all the while.
Moore will catch a goal-line fade and score the Browns' only touchdown through the air, thanks to his tremendous size and strength.
The Browns special teams have always been extraordinary.
Be it Josh Cribbs, Ray Ventrone, Ryan Pontbriand or Philly D, the Browns have always excelled special teams wise, and this game will be no different.
Josh Cribbs will return to old form returning kicks and punts, but won't quite be able to make it into the end-zone in Week 1.
Phil Dawson will go 2-for-2 on extra points, and will even make a 30-yard field goal as Pat Shurmur decides not to "go for it" on 4th-and-1 inside the red zone.
Watch out for a forced fumble from these guys as well.
This is the area in which the Browns will have the most success against the Bengals.
With the retirement of Carson Palmer, and the losses of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, the Bengals offense is going to be extremely young, and a bit more than rusty.
The Browns are going to be swarming the ball both on the ground and in the air, and will cause at least three turnovers against the Bengals.
In his first game as a professional, Andy Dalton is going to get roughed up. Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard will be in on Dalton, forcing him to throw to the likes of Joe Haden and Sheldon Brown on the outsides.
Cedric Benson torched the Browns last season, but in this year's opener, the new defensive coaching and system will have them ready to stop Benson and the Bengals rush game.
All in all, a combination of a young offense and an improved Browns defense and secondary is going to be way too much for the Bengals to handle, and will lead to a rough day. Andy Dalton will throw at least two picks, as well as only 120 yards through the air. Benson will rush for 65 yards, but won't be able to reach the end zone.
The Browns offense isn't going to look as good as fans would hope, as Cincinnati's defense ins't exactly laughable, but the Browns defense and secondary is going to be simply dominant against an incredibly inexperienced Bengals offense.
While 17-0 may not be the ideal score to a Week 1 victory, it would be an incredible way to begin the season for the Browns.