The Browns and Bengals are similar teams in many ways. They both have had ball-control offenses so far with a poor rushing attack. Both rely on a solid D to win them games. Cincinnati is better and has overall had better QB play though, but they are not the team people thought they were 2 weeks ago. The Bengals have since had to face teams who win with some consistently and have lost 2 in a row. The Browns are getting back on their feet against bad teams and recently broke a 3 game losing streak. The Bengals and Browns have faced 5 common teams so far and the Bengals are 4-1 and the Browns are 3-2 against those teams. This is a big game for the Browns and Pat Shurmur to show that their success in recent weeks isn’t a mirage.
While Colt mcCoy has looked better, he hasn’t been exactly a worldbeater and hasn’t faced the stiffest competition. While the Rams and Jaguars had very solid pass Ds, both teams had recently lost their #1 corner. Its hard to say whether these Ds just suck or Colt is just good, but Tavaris just faced the Rams and looked flat out awful, even for Tavaris. Thankfully, Leon Hall is also out for the year so this trend continues and the Browns hope Colt’s trend will continue. Good news for Colt is the running game will not have to rely on Chris Ogbonnaya because montario Hardesty has been practicing & Hillis practiced on Friday. Both are questionable & either one playing can give a boost to the running game. The Offensive Line has also been blocking better for the run game and pass blocking. This is good, because the Browns are going to need all the help they can get up front blocking the Bengals front 7, which is 2nd in opponents’ yards per carry.
On Defense, the Browns should be able to stop Cedric Benson. They have struggled at times this year stopping the run, but they have faced multiple Pro-Bowl caliber running backs. Pro-Bowl caliber, Benson is not. He is having a bad season, but it’s just normal. He is rushing for 3.8 yards per carry, but his career ypc is 3.7. Its an improvement over last years horrendous 3.5 but he still sucks big time. Andy Dalton is putting together a solid season right now, but the Browns passing D has been even more stingy than the Bengals. They are 4th best in opponent’s net yards per attempt and QBs struggle to score through the air. Joe Haden should also be able to shut down A.J. Green as he did in the first meeting. While the Browns don’t force many picks, Dalton has struggled in recent weeks at turning the ball over.
This game may be decided by small margins and trends. Neither team turns the ball over a lot, but neither team forces turnovers. It could end up being a game with only 1 turnover and the team who forced it wins. The Browns won last week in a nailbiter and should have won the week before. The Browns’ play is overall trending upward, especially at QB while the Bengals’ play is trending downward. Dalton had 5 picks in the last 2 games and 7 in the last 4. Regardless of the fact that he just played the Ravens & the Steelers he is trending down.
Prediction: Browns 17, Bengals 13 with a costly pick by Dalton
About the Author
Written by Bradley Ross
Bradley Ross was born and lived most of his life in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. He grew up with a passion for sports and Cleveland teams, instilled in him by his father. He is currently studying Business/Journalism at Cuyahoga Community College and plans on transferring to the Ohio State University in the winter with an expected graduation date of 2013. He is currently a Staff Writer for the Tri-C Voice Newspaper, which was a recipient of an award for the best non-daily newspaper at a 2 year college (northeast region). He runs multiple blogs off of the blogger platform including The Take By The Lake, a sports blog. Sports is his passion and he enjoys being able to write about them and cover them. He also enjoys improvisational humor, long walks on the beach, and writing in the 3rd person. Follow him on Twitter @BRoss_Voice.