Week 10 Preview: Cincinnati Bengals Host Cleveland Browns
Nov 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws during the second half the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
It has been a while since a Cincinnati Bengals versus Cleveland Browns game has had playoff implications behind it, but Thursday night the Browns will travel to Paul Brown Stadium to face the division leading Bengals. If the Bengals win, they will lead the division for another week and the Browns could slip to last place in the division. If the Browns win, they could realistically be looking to the final six weeks for a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Bengals Keys to the Game
The game will be played at Paul Brown Stadium, a place where the Bengals haven’t lost in almost 2 years. It seems the Bengals play best at home and they can’t afford to slip on the short week. Andy Dalton must limit the mistakes against this much improved Browns defense. I could see Greg Little asking for the ball as he is determined to show his old team that letting him go was a mistake. He could be playing the third wide receiver position for this game.
The defense must play like they did against Jacksonville. They must shut down the passing game–Brian Hoyer can get hot when allowed to get into a grove–and limit the running game. They must force mistakes and play pressure offense, which was a key last week. If they can limit this offense, it could be a long night for the Browns’ defense on the field.
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Browns Keys to the Game
Dalton seems to get rushed when pressured. The Browns must force bad decisions with a strong pass rush and limit the run game early to hope for any success. They cannot allow the BIG play to happen, especially early. They will need to keep it close to have a shot to win in the fourth quarter.
The Browns must hope that Hoyer can find his stride early, because it will be a key to moving the ball effectively down the field. The run game must produce results if they have any chance of spreading this defense thin with eight to nine guys in the box early from the Bengals’ defense. If they can get the Bengals to overcommit, the Browns could produce yards and big plays.
The Bengals have been successful at home and that should carry into this game. The improved strength of the Cleveland Browns could play into the Bengals’ favor as it will not be just another weak team they can overlook; the Bengals have been prone to playing down to their competition.
Bengals win at home 24-17