After a win in their division rivalry in Week 2 against a Pittsburgh Steelers team that will still be on the road to recovery at the start to their 2013 NFL season, the Bengals will find themselves in a confident position going into a home game against the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers will prey on every tiny mistake they make.
Crawling back to practice the following week with their tails between their legs, the Bengals will work hard, will go back to what works properly for them. They will then move on in their second rivalry of the season against the Cleveland Browns, ready to show that the Week 3 loss at the hands of the Packers is not going to happen very often.
After a pretty abysmal 5-11 season in 2012, the Browns seemed they were looking to make some big changes. They hired a whole host of new coaches, including offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who was released by the San Diego Chargers and Rob Chudzinski as head coach.
The Browns then decided to focus on the defense throughout the free agency, signing linebacker Paul Kruger from under the nose of the Baltimore Ravens and signing linebacker Quinton Groves who had been released by the Arizona Cardinals only days before.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden didn’t show much in 2012 passing for 3,385 yards and only 14 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. The general consensus therefore was that the Browns would give up on that experiment this season and move on to the next one with the first round pick of the draft in 2013, probably picking up Geno Smith. The Draft didn’t go that way, however. Instead, the Browns decided to continue to strengthen their defense, drafting outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo out of LSU with their first round pick and continued to draft defensively with cornerback Leon McFadden and safety Jamoris Slaughter with their next two picks. This all gave way to the rather clear decision that they would continue with Weeden at the helm for at least another season.
To me, with all of the work that the Browns decided to do on defense and the lack thereof they did on offense, it seems that next season they’re looking to take Weeden off of the frying pan and throw him straight into the fire. But unfortunately for the Browns, I don’t think this is going to work out for them. At the end of the day, Weeden is just not a franchise quarterback, and although they will have a better season than they had last year, it won’t be by any means a playoff caliber season.
The Bengals will probably have some trouble against a defense that has had this much surgery, but with an offense that won’t be able to put up the numbers in a rivalry as heated as this, the Bengals are sure to be victorious in this match up. The Browns will be contending for the the AFC North title within the next few years, but without a franchise quarterback to lead the way, 2013 won’t be their season.
Cincinnati Bengals 20 – 13 Cleveland Browns
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. You can follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88