Today marks a key matchup in the AFC North division. The Browns are a surprising 5-3 on the year, while the Bengals sit at 5-2-1 and at first place in the North. With last week’s action in the books I am 86-47-1 on the year. Not bad, I also improved my college record to 15-17 (up from 11-16 last week).
Browns at Bengals
(5-3, 1-2 away)
(5-2-1, 4-0-1 home)
Cleveland’s Keys to Victory:
1. Run the ball effectively: Ben Tate and Terrance West are two solid running backs Cleveland can go to. Brian Hoyer seems like a solid quarterback but I’m not sure he can carry this team. Ground and pound, then pass it once their guard’s down.
2. Shutdown Haden: Joe Haden is an All-Pro corner and more likely than not he will be paired up with superstar wideout A.J. Green. If history is any indication, Haden may take one or more of these to the house so don’t be surprised if he does. Cleveland will need this because this game could entirely be decided by field position.
3. Protect Hoyer: Center Alex Mack is lost for the year with a broken fibula, so it’s up to the Browns line to step up and protect their quarterback. I have no doubts about pro-bowler Joe Thomas, but I still have questions about the rest of that line.
Cincinnati’s Keys to Victory:
1. The good Dalton must show up: We are either going to get the good Andy Dalton who passes for three touchdowns, or the bad one who throws for three interceptions. As fiery of a leader as he is, it does him no good if that flame burns him for a pick-six or two.
2. Green needs to burn Haden: This game could entirely be decided by the matchup between A.J. Green and Joe Haden. Green only had 58 receiving yards in his last matchup with the All-Pro corner, and despite the recent toe injury he can’t really use that as an excuse tonight.
3. The Thrill of Hill: Bengals running back Jeremy Hill had a 60 yard score against the Jaguars last week, and leads all rookie running backs with five touchdowns. If Cincinnati can get him going, that might take some pressure off of Dalton and get them the win.
Cleveland and Cincinnati have split the last two meetings since 2012, but despite Cleveland’s recent success the good Bengals are starting to show up. Bengals win by a field goal or two, but it could go either way.
The Rest of Week 10
Seahawks over Giants
Steelers over Jets
Chiefs over Bills
Lions over Dolphins
Cowboys over Jaguars
Niners over Saints
Ravens over Titans
Falcons over Buccaneers
Broncos over Raiders
Cardinals over Rams
I will have the Bears/Packers Sunday Night game, and the Panthers/Eagles Monday Night ones later this week. Stay Tuned. The Colts, Patriots, Vikings, Chargers, Redskins, and Texans all have byes this week.
Stay Classy Everyone!