Browns vs. Bengals – Will there be a Way for Victory?
After the much needed bye week, the Browns host their division rival who also resides in the state of Ohio. The first contest was not too kind to the orange and brown, but perhaps the second matchup will be different. The lifeless organization is 0 -12 and it would appear that there is little hope. Can this game be different? Possibly, but let’s delve into why.
Back to the Starter at QB
While not official, it is possible that Robert Griffin will be back in the saddle for the Browns in this contest. The quarterback has only participated in one regular season contest in 2016, but will now secure his opportunity to show the coaching staff that he can hold down the position going forward. My hope for Griffin (and the offense) is that the threat of the deep ball opens up running lanes as well as the play book. The key for any chance at a win is zero turnovers by the Browns’ quarterback.
Weapons Missing for Cincy
This relates to A.J. Green and Gio Bernard for the away squad – who will be out of action in this contest. While that is fine and good for the Browns, but the opponent still has several other weapons. Jeremy Hill and Rex Burkhead lead the running stable – and will more than likely see ample receiving opportunities. On the outside, Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd have been stepping up at the wide receiver position. Long story short, the some may feel the Browns will dodge a bullet on Sunday – but there are capable athletes waiting in the wings to make them pay.
Hope for another Jump
The Browns’ defense has taken steps forward (albeit not huge) the past few weeks, even with the young athletes on the field. Guys like Danny Shelton and Chris Kirksey continue to improve upon their 2015 campaign. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Ogbah and Briean Boddy-Calhoun are a pair of rookies who are getting better, despite making mistakes here and there. At some point the unit has to put it all together, right? That is my hope, as it is one thing to play well individually – however knowing each person’s responsibility and performing as one is something this franchise has not seen for quite some time.
Taking the Browns Lightly
The Bengals dispatched Carson Wentz and the Eagles rather easily (last Sunday) now travel to face a winless Browns team. Many believe this will be another beat down for the guests, but will they buy into the hype? Since this is a divisional contest, I anticipate Marvin Lewis having his club fully prepared and ready to play up to their capabilities. For some reason, I could see the Bengals starting out a bit sluggish in this matchup. It will be up to them whether they pick it up for succumb the rest of the way.
Conclusion: While I feel this might be a close contest, I still cannot pick the Browns to win this game. The Bengals are a better football team in all three phases of the game (well, kicker might be a toss up). I would love to be wrong one of these times, because they cannot afford to end the season winless.