BEREA, Ohio--Brian Hoyer said the Browns are ready for Thursday's nationally televised game with the Bengals. The Browns (5-3) are playing for first place in the AFC North against the Bengals (5-2-1). The two teams haven't played with first place on the line this late in the season since 1986.
"Yeah, it's huge. Obviously, playing a division opponent, you never have to say anything more than that," Hoyer said. "The battle of Ohio, playing Cincinnati, right there (is) the second thing you can talk about, then playing on Thursday night on national TV.
"We know what's at stake," Hoyer said. "We know what's going on, and we're not taking this lightly at all. I think not much more needs to be said than division opponent, Cincinnati, on the road, Thursday Night Football. That's what you come here to play in these type of games for."
Hoyer started his first game at home last season against the Bengals and led the Browns to a big 17-6 win at FirstEnergy Stadium. Hoyer is 8-3 in his 11 career starts with the Browns, including 5-3 this season. In the Browns win over Cincinnati last year, Hoyer was 25-of-38 for 269 yards with two touchdowns. He also led the Browns on a late drive to clinch the victory.
"Looking back, playing my first start at home, playing a division-rival opponent at home and getting a win, a long drive to cap off the game to kind of put us in -- we were winning -- but to kind of seal the deal was definitely something special."
Hoyer said he thinks the team is ready for the game.
"If anything, it's almost better to have it on a quick week," he said. "You don't have much to think about. You really have to get in here and focus on the opponent, focus on your game plan because it's such a quick turnaround.
"If you think about anything else, you're going to be off your game," he said. "This is the NFL. If people want to watch the Browns play, they order NFL Sunday Ticket or whatever it might be. I'm sure there have been plenty of people that have seen us play. I think, for us, obviously, you know this is an opportunity to go out there and play in front of the whole country, where you're the only game that's on. It's something that's fun for us. This is really our only chance. We didn't have a Sunday night game or a Monday night game so it's something we've been looking forward to for a long time."
Cameron Mum: Browns TE Jordan Cameron was in the locker room but said he was "not allowed to talk" to the media. The NFL's protocol for concussions doesn't allow players to speak with the media until they are cleared. Pettine said Cameron has not been cleared, and was listed as a "DNP" on the injury report.
Pettine was asked if he expected Cameron to practice Tuesday night.
"I doubt it."
Pettine said he believes Hawkins will be a game time decision.