Last week the Cincinnati Bengals got thrashed 44-13 by the Baltimore Ravens, so it would seem that heading home plus playing the lowly Cleveland Browns would be a perfect recipe for their first win, right?
Well maybe so.
The Bengals are looking to win their eight consecutive game in the meeting, a meeting they have dominated lately. Although the Bengals made the playoffs last season their offense did not look good at all in their opening game, with their only touchdown coming on BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ six yard run at the end of the first half.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J Green did not look in sync at all, and Green wound up with 5 catches for 70 yards. Certainly those are good numbers, but with the talent that Green possesses they could have been better.
On the other hand, the Browns were at home in their first week, played solid defense the entire game against the Eagles, but it was all for not as their offense was nonexistent the entire game.
The Browns had the lead, 16-10, late into the fourth quarter, that is until Michael Vick led an excellent scoring drive to take the lead, and eventually win the game, 17-16. With any sort of offense the Browns almost surely would have given the Eagles their first loss of the season. Nevertheless a win is a win, especially in the NFL, and that is exactly what the Eagles did last Sunday.
Looking ahead to this week’s game I believe that it will come down to two key things.
1. Can The Browns Find Any Sort Of Offense- It’s what cost the Browns the game, and it’s what’ll cost them a chance in the game against the Bengals if they can’t find a go to WR, or get some production from 1st round draft pick RB Trent Richardson.
Richardson had 19 carries for 39 yards last week, certainly not productive numbers from a player who is expected to be leaned upon on offense. On top of that, rookie QB Brandon Weeden played horribly, winding up with a 1.2 QBR. If the Browns can get into an offensive groove then they should do just ok in this game.
2. Can The Browns Defense Limit A.J Green With The Absence of No. 1 CB Joe Haden- The four game suspension of the Browns No. 1 CB Joe Haden is a devastating blow. The Browns played well against the Eagles, due largely in part to Vick’s four interceptions, and one fumble.
But, still turnovers happen in the NFL, and the Browns were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Taking advantage of those turnovers is a whole different story, and usually one that they can’t control since they’re not playing offense. If the Browns can play with the same sort of aggressiveness against the Bengals, and limit Green to less than 100 receiving yards then I think the Browns have a big chance in this game.
Prediction — Browns 17 Bengals 14
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