When the Bengals Throw the Ball:
Dalton has had success against the Browns with a 3-1 record and 8 TDs to just 4 INTs, but he will be facing a good Browns pass rush (12 sacks) and Joe Hayden will be blanketing his favorite target (Green). In their first ever meeting, Hayden held Green to essentially 0 catches (Green did have 1 catch for 41 yards and a TD – but that was when the Bengals snapped the ball and no one was on Green).
Since then, Green has gotten the best of Hayden (11/27/11 – 4 rec, 110 yards, 0 TDs, long of 51; 10/14/12 – 11 rec, 135 yards, 2 TDs, long of 57). In fact, the worst game Green had against the Browns (9/16/12 – 7 rec, 58 yards, 1 TD) came in a game Hayden missed with a suspension. Despite Green’s success against Hayden, Hayden must still be respected as one of the premier cover corners in the NFL and thrown at with caution. Green will have plenty of opportunities 1-on-1 against Hayden, as I would expect the Bengals to go with a lot of 2 TE sets.
Going with the 2 TE sets accomplishes 3 things:
1) it neutralizes the Browns pass rush – either having 2 extra blockers and making the line wider and the path to the QB longer, or by taking away 1 or 2 rushers by forcing them to cover the TEs
2) it creates matchup advantages for the Bengals – forcing at least 1 LB on TE matchup and probably creating more 1-on-1 opportunities for Green
3) it spreads out the Browns stout run defense and creates more room for BJGE and Bernard. Lastly, the Bengals have a huge size advantage in the passing game.
Of the Browns 8 secondary players, only 1 (backup FS Johnson Bademosi) stands above 5’11”…and he is listed at 6’0”. The Bengals will attack this small secondary with Green (6’4”), Sanu (6’2”), Jones (6’2”), Gresham (6’5”) and Eifert (6’6”). When in trouble, a jump ball in this game may not be a bad option.