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Week 11: Battle of Ohio Part II – What to Look For

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When the Bengals Throw the Ball:

The Bengals have the 7th ranked passing offense, but they will be facing a Browns defense that is ranked 10th against the pass, has 31 sacks (5th in the NFL) and earlier this year forced Dalton in to one of his worst games of his career (23/42, 206 yards, 0 Tds, 1 INT, 2 fumbles (1 lost) and a 58.2 rating). While the Browns only sacked Dalton twice, they got a lot of pressure on him and he never looked comfortable. When Dalton did release the ball, it wasn’t good. In the first matchup, the Browns had 10 passes defensed! Dalton has to play better if the Bengals want to win Sunday.

The reason I like the Bengals in this round of the Battle of Ohio is because of the increased role of their secondary weapons – those not named AJ Green. In week 4, the Bengals had yet to establish the roles of Eifert and Bernard and they still had not found a #2 receiver. Since that game, Eiftert has become a staple on the offense, Bernard has become a dynamic dual threat back, and Marvin Jones (who had targets in the first matchup) has clearly established himself as one of the better #2 WRs in the league. In the 6 games since, Jones has 22 receptions, 357 yards, 6 TDs and 49 yards rushing. Oh, and Andrew Hawkins is back. If Dalton stays upright and keeps the ball away from the Browns, I don’t believe the Browns have the personnel to defend all of the Bengals weapons.

This advantage, however, is completely contingent on Dalton – if we see the Dalton from last two weeks, the Browns will have the advantage; if we see the Dalton from weeks 6-8, the Bengals should be ok.

Advantage: Bengals

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