Week 6: Cincinnati Bengals At Cleveland Browns
- QuarterbackThe Bengals were zipping right along with a 3-1 record, but dropping a home game to the Miami Dolphins is cause for concern. Talented Andy Dalton was unimpressive in that game and he is going to have to show that he can shake off a bad game and get back on track against a feisty Cleveland team.The losses are starting to pile up for rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. While it’s not his fault, he has made his share of mistakes. Weeden has a strong arm and does a decent job reading defenses, but he tries to force too many of his throws.
- OffenseThe Bengals have an exceptional pair of wideouts in A.J. Green and Andrew Hawkins. While neither had great games against Miami, both are capable of exploiting the Cleveland secondary and making explosive plays. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis should bounce back from his 14-yard rushing effort against the Dolphins.The Browns may not be a consistent offensive team, but they have building blocks to turn the situation around. The best attribute is rookie running back Trent Richardson is the real deal and he will be the focus of their attack. Wide receiver Josh Gordon caught 2-82-2 in the loss to the Giants and should be a primetime target for Weeden.
- DefenseThe Bengals have the strength to slow down Cleveland’s powerful running game. Domata Peko and Geno Atkins are two of the best defensive tackles in the league at shutting down the interior run. Cornerback Nate Clements had an interception and 9 tackles against Miami.The Browns make a lot of mistakes on the defensive end and give up a lot of big plays. However, head coach Pat Shurmur and veteran defensive coordinator Dick Jauron have an aggressive group of players and they want to prove they are up to the challenge. Free safety Usama Young had a 10-tackle game against the Giants and also picked off an Eli Manning pass.
- Special TeamsThe Bengals are an ordinary bunch on special teams. Mike Nugent missed a key field goal in the loss against the Dolphins, while punter Kevin Huber is coming off an ordinary game. He averaged 40.5 yards per punt against the Dolphins.The Browns have the ability to steal a close game because of their outstanding special teams. While Josh Cribbs lost a fumble against the Giants, he is probably the best return man in the league. Placekicker Phil Dawson remains extremely dependable.
The Bengals recorded a hard-fought 34-27 win over the Browns in Week Two, so look for Cleveland to go into this game with full confidence. That may not be the case with the Bengals, who inexplicably lost at home game to the Miami Dolphins. The pressure is on head coach Marvin Lewis to keep his team from going into a funk. He has not always been able to do that in the past.