Marvin Jones vs. Brandon Browner: A Matchup to Watch?


Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) makes a catch for a touchdown a during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the Bengals travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts where they’ll face the New England Patriots on Sunday night.  It’s a huge game for both teams, but for varying reasons.  The Bengals will be looking for a marquee win while trying to supplant the Patriots as an AFC power.  Meanwhile, Patriots will be in “desperation mode” as their season has gotten off to a lackluster start.  Adding intrigue to the matchup is the likely returns of two players who may find themselves matched up on Sunday night: Marvin Jones and Brandon Browner.

As a breakout receiver in 2013, Marvin Jones’ return will be a welcomed addition to the Bengals’ offense.  Although the Bengals have managed fine without Jones, they have noticeably struggled to convert scoring chances into touchdowns rather than field goals; the Bengals are currently tied for the most field goal attempts.  Last year, Jones accounted for the third-most touchdowns on the team with 10 (behind Andy Dalton’s 35 and A.J. Green’s 11).  This year, the Bengals’ redzone struggles can be attributed to some play-calling, but much of it has to do with the absences of Jones and Tyler Eifert.  Jones is strong at the point of the catch and doesn’t have an issue with drops: only three last year.  His presence will give Andy Dalton another target in the redzone while Hue Jackson has more versatility in his play-calling.  Beyond his redzone presence, Jones possesses great long ball skills and has been known to use his shiftiness effectively on screen passes and end-arounds.

Aug 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner (39) breaks up a pass intended for New York Giants wide receiver Corey Washington (6) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants defeated the Patriots 16-13. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the Patriots may have a weapon of their own returning to the lineup in Brandon Browner.  Browner missed the first four games of the year due to suspension, so he’s been unable to be with the team since the preseason.  This could’ve meant that Browner would need some time to get himself into game shape, but reports are out that he’s ready to return.  Browner is a really big cornerback at 6’4″, 221 pounds, and will present a physical matchup this week.  A former member of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom,” Browner’s skills are formidable as is his potential impact on a game.

When matching up with Browner, it’ll take quickness to beat him.  Assuming Darrell Revis covers A.J. Green, this leaves Browner either on Jones or the Bengals’ strongest receiver in Mohamed Sanu.  Jones’ quickness will be his best asset, when battling Browner, as he’s unlikely to physically dominate such an imposing corner.

The Bengals’ wide receivers versus the Patriots’ secondary will be a matchup to watch.  The Bengals’ receiving core is deep, but with Revis, Browner, Alfonzo Dennard, and Logan Ryan, the Patriots have the corners to match them.  It’ll be an interesting battle on Sunday as whoever wins it will likely come out on top.