Cincinnati Bengals: Second Half Preview Part One

4 of 4

Nov 5, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

The Cincinnati Bengals did almost everything that could have been asked of the on Thursday Night Football, to maintain perfection and defeat in-state and division foe, the Cleveland Browns. They will have to travel to Cleveland for part two of the “Battle of Ohio” and hope for a similar outcome to the week nine win. The major question is will they see Johnny Manziel for the third time in just as many meetings, or will the reins go back to Josh McCown. The Bengals were able to get to Manziel a combined six times in both previous match ups. Although their first matchup of this season, Manziel looked like a different quarterback in the first half, a better one.

The defense, on a short week, was missing key players like Joe Haden and Donte Whitner, who both missed the first match up with injuries. If they can remain healthy, they could play a difference in the effectiveness of the Bengals offense to pass the ball and even move the ball on the ground, with corner and safety blitzes. The Bengals will have to adjust for the difference in the defense, although that hasn’t proven to be an issue so far this season.

Next: Bengals Control Their Destiny for Playoff Bye

Depending on what the Bengals do over the three week prior, compared to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They could clinch the AFC north as early as week 12 with winning each of the prior three games and a Steelers loss against the Browns in Week 10 and loss against the Seahawks after the bye in Seattle. The could win the division if they go perfect through week 13 and the Steelers loss just one of their three games between now and then. The Bengals control their own destiny in more than one way, and Bengals fans have seen heartbreak. This year however, feels different.