The 89th meeting of the “Battle of Ohio” takes place on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns (0-10) will travel down to Cincinnati to face the Bengals (4-6).
The in-state rivals met on October 1 with the Bengals dominating the Browns in a 31-7 rout. Andy Dalton threw for 286 yards in four touchdowns for Cincinnati while DeShone Kizer in then his fourth career start threw for just 118 yards and an interception.
Since then the Bengals have gone 3-3 and are in the middle of what should be an exciting race for the AFC Wild Card spots which they currently sit one game behind Baltimore.
As for Cleveland, they have gone 0-6 since the loss and are currently on a 11 game losing streak dating back to last season.
Head coach Hue Jackson says he’ll ride it out with Kizer but if he has another game like he did against Jacksonville in which he threw four turnovers and based on Jackson’s history of yanking the rookie to try and win, you can’t exactly believe what he says at this point.
Team Stats (League Rank)
Passing: CLE-199.5 ypg (27th), CIN-197.6 ypg
Rushing: CLE-101.2 ypg (23rd), CIN-68 ypg (32nd)
Scoring: CLE-15 ppg (32nd), CIN-16.9 ppg (29th)
Passing: CLE-222 ypg (14th), CIN-200.6 (6th)
Rushing: CLE-91.7 ypg (6th), CIN-122.4 ypg (27th)
Scoring: CLE-25.9 ppg (28th), CIN-19.9 ppg (T-10th)
Out: WR Sammie Coates (knee/ankle)
Doubtful: DB Derron Smith (knee)
Out: LB Vincent Rey (hamstring), DB Shawn Williams (hamstring)
Questionable: DB Darqueze Dennard (knee)
Matchup to Watch
Browns offensive line vs Bengals defensive line
The Browns offensive line which seemed to be cruising along just fine without Joe Thomas hit a road block last week against the Jacksonville defensive front which sacked Kizer five times and forced four fumbles (three recovered, one for a touchdown).
This week they’ll go up against a stout Bengals front led with Carlos Dunlap, Pat Sims, Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson who combine for 13 sacks and a forced fumble.
It’s also a defensive front that’s giving up almost 122 rushing yards per game.
The Browns must be able to contain that group if they want to win on Sunday. Not only to protect Kizer but to open up the running game so they can attack and give Kizer some breathing room to make plays with his arms and his legs.
If it’s anything like Jacksonville, then the Browns are going to end up 0-11 after Sunday.
Like I mentioned above, if the Browns have a chance to win, it’ll be because of their running game. If they can pound the ball like they did against Detroit, then they’ll be in a position to get their first win.
I’d like to see more of Duke Johnson and the rookie Matthew Dayes and less of Isaiah Crowell. It’s apparent that Crowell has already punched his ticket out of Cleveland and hasn’t been producing to get that big contract he’s coveting. Time to start running the potential future backs of this organization.
In the end though, I think Cincinnati despite their lack of success on offense will find a way to win this game. The defense has been playing great football all season and putting them in a position to win with Dalton and the offense doing just enough in those four wins to get said wins.
Cleveland will find the offense once but ultimately won’t be enough
Bengals 24 Browns 10