The Cincinnati Bengals face off against their in-state rivals, the Cleveland Browns this Sunday in the 79th meeting between the two teams. The Bengals currently enjoy a 42-36 record in the series on the strength of a current 13-3 run. However, of those 16 matchups, 12 have been decided by ten points or less, which means that no matter which team is up, and which team is down, it’s always a fight for a win. This Sunday looks to continue the trend, with the Bengals trying to bounce back from a tough loss to Miami and get the offense going again, and the Browns continuing to play well, losing several close games this season. If the Bengals are going to avoid a second straight loss, and make it to 4-2 on the season, they will need to once again defeat their rivals from the north. Here are some keys to doing just that.
The Running Game
The Bengals signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the offseason to solidify and upgrade the running back position over the departed Cedric Benson. After a great start, “The Law Firm” has cooled off significantly, posting just 14 yards on 9 carries in last week’s loss to the Dolphins. His per-carry average is down to just 3.3, and he has struggled with fumbles, something he didn’t do at all in his time with the Patriots. Miami was able to shut down the Bengals run game, which rendered the play-action ineffective, which in turn severely limited Andy Dalton‘s ability to throw the ball. With Bernard Scott suffering a season-ending injury, it will be up to BJGE to do what he was brought in to do: run the ball and set up the passing game. The Browns have a solid defense, and get cornerback Joe Haden back this week, which will enable the Browns to use extra men to stop the run and blitz. Green-Ellis has to make Cleveland commit guys to stop the run, and thus open up the offense.