2. Donovan Peoples-Jones
Another Browns X-factor worth keeping an eye on this weekend is Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Cleveland's passing game was abysmal in 2022, however, Peoples-Jones was one of the few bright spots. The ex-Michigan Wolverine had himself a career year, finishing with personal bests in both reception (61) and receiving yards (839) while finding the end zone three times.
What highlights Peoples-Jones' importance to the Browns is that he was the only wideout on the team other than Amari Cooper to finish with more than 300 receiving yards.
DPJ has improved with each passing season, but that still culminated in ranking just 80th among wide receivers leaguewide in Pro Football Focus' receiving grade.
This trend of improvement is something Cleveland needs to bank on continuing to beat Cincinnati. The Bengals have one of the best aerial assaults in the league and Watson will need more than just Cooper creating noise to have success — especially since Cooper will likely be seeing a lot of attention from the Cincinnati defense.
Peoples-Jones already proved that he can get the better of the Bengals, recording 12 catches for 195 yards in two meetings last year. If he can put together another strong performance on Sunday, the Browns will have a better chance of sending the crowd home happy.
However, if he isn't ready for the WR2 role, matching Cincinnati's attack will be easier said than done.