Cincinnati Bengals: 3 things to watch vs. Browns in Week 9

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals host the Cleveland Browns in the first Battle of Ohio of the season, and the implications are high. The Bengals enter at 5-3 overall and second in AFC North, and the Browns come in at 4-4. Both teams are coming off losses making this game even more critical.

Here’s what to watch in the Battle of Ohio.

1. How Bengals OL fairs against Myles Garrett and Browns front seven.

The Bengals will be facing one of the tougher front sevens in football this Sunday and debatably the best pass rusher in the league in Myles Garrett. It’s expected that left tackle Jonah Williams will have the duty of blocking him, but Williams alone may not be able to get the job done.

A lot like what the Bengals did in the Jaguars game, adding an extra offensive lineman with Isaiah Prince might be the assignment to have a successful day at the office. Even bringing in a different tight end and lining him up that side will be a recipe for success against Garrett.

Whatever it may be, Zac Taylor and Frank Pollack need to find ways to generate some pocket time for Joe Burrow. The Browns secondary has ranked as one of the worst in the league so far this year but doesn’t let that fool you, there is still plenty of talent back there led by Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams.

Overall this Browns defense does present some struggles, and they’ve been one of the brighter spots of this team so far this season which makes it essential that the Bengals don’t shoot themselves in the foot and play behind the chains or make careless turnovers that put the staggering Browns offense in significant positions to score points.

At the end of the day, protecting Joe Burrow is the most important thing Cincinnati can do. Suppose he has time in the pocket and isn’t seeing pressure in his face every play, then, things will fall into place, and we’ve seen that first hand from both points of view.

Burrow and the offense have no problem getting going when they pick up penalties and aren’t letting up sacks. But when things go south, and those problems are happening, we’ve seen the offense sizzle and stay stagnant.