Sunday’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns will feature one of the biggest games in the history of the Battle of Ohio. The winner will have the inside-track to winning the AFC North and the right to host a playoff game. The two have already met in Week 4, a game in which the Browns defense held the Bengals to just six points and pressured Andy Dalton for much of the game.
Surprisingly, that as without the services of outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard, who Pro Football Focus believes could be a difference-maker in Sunday’s battle:
One key difference could be the return of Jabaal Sheard, who missed Week 4, but is the best pass rushing OLB Cleveland offers, with a 10.6 Pass Rushing Productivity rating, which would be Top 15 if he had enough snaps to qualify.
Another stat to note is Sheard has totaled 12 QB pressures in just four career games vs the Bengals, a rate of 3 pressures per game. The fact that the Browns did so well against the Bengals in Week 4 without Sheard is just another reason why the offense will need to be on it’s A game to even get into the endzone this time.