Cleveland Browns Keys to Victory Over The Cincinnati Bengals
The Cleveland Browns will host the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, in part one of the Battle for Ohio. Browns suffered a heartbreaking loss last week to the Steelers, that took the wind out of the air for many people. But, Cleveland can still fight for their first winning record in years or at least a .500 record. Slim playoff hopes remain, but it doesn’t look like 9-7 gets a wildcard this season.
Facing the Bengals, Cleveland won’t be able to overlook them. The Bengals may be 1-11, but they have six losses decided by a touchdown or less, they could very well test the Browns. Cleveland will have to come ready to play on all cylinders, which brings us to the keys to a Browns victory.
Offense has to be what it can be
The Cleveland Browns offense has been up and down this season, no matter who you blame it on, it’s still there. The play caller, offensive line, quarterback all deserve their fair share of blame when it comes to the up’/and the down’s We’ve seen the offense hum this year at times. Against the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks the Cleveland offense was above average and really helped the defense. The Browns need to be at that level the remainder of the season, to have any chance at remaining goals.
Just the league’s 24th best defense, the Bengals simply haven’t stopped much. The fact that they have the second worst offense statistically goes hand in hand with this, the defense may be out there too often. Hints, this is a perfect situation for the brown and orange offense to go all out, play free, but smart. Nick Chubb leads the league in rushing, it’ll all start with him. Expect Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb to get their touches and wear down the Cincinnati defensive line, which should open up the passing game and give quarterback Baker Mayfield more time. This is all best case scenario, and is yet to be done often by the Browns.
Make Andy Dalton uncomfortable
The Bengals have gone back to their long time quarterback in Andy Dalton, after Ryan Finley hasn’t worked out. It paid quick dividends as his first start back resulted in a win over the New York Jets. Dalton was nothing special in this game, but it was one of their best quarterback outings of the season. The New York Jets failed to get any consistent pass rush on Dalton, just one sack all game. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback isn’t great, but any NFL quarterback is going to make a play here and there with a clean pocket and that’s what he did.
Without Myles Garrett, the Browns have to get creative and they have shown some of that. Relying on a consistent pass rush from Chad Thomas isn’t going to get a ton done and Oliver Vernon has been injured. Disguising blitzes, throwing a cornerback blitz and defensive tackle power rushes should be a thing of common occurrence in Cleveland. Defensive coordinator even threw DT Sheldon Richardson on the edge at times. Getting to the quarterback is an emphasis for Cleveland at this point, something they will have to do and doing it against a bad team could be a good confidence boost for the remainder of the season for the Browns.
Maintain Auden Tate
When the Cincinnati Bengals selected Auden Tate in the seventh round of the NFL Draft last season, they probably didn’t think they would get a projected near 800 yard season from the former Florida State Seminole. The late round wideout has gone over 50 yards receiving in seven of 11 games played and has become a top option for the Bengals with star wideout AJ Green sidelined. At 6-5, Tate has the physical tools to be a matchup problem for opposing quarterbacks and is going to be even better with good quarterback play.
A big target that can work after the catch, Denzel Ward will likely have his hands full on Sunday, giving up some size. Ward will need to make up for that with ball skills and speed, which he can definitely do. An intriguing matchup to watch, to say the least. Cleveland safeties could possibly pitch in over the top and help give some extra insurance as Tate has had a good rookie year, better than many have expected.
Putting the Bengals to sleep early.
Good teams don’t let other teams hang around, often that’s been the case for the Cleveland Browns this season. As mentioned above, six of the Cincinnati Bengals losses are by a seven points or less, just to show how close the Bengals have been at times this season. Cleveland has let teams hang around this season after some quick starts, they’ve escaped some of them, but some of it has come back to bite them in the tail.
This can’t be the case with Cincinnati. Bengals can’t afford to really win any more games, if they want the top pick that is. But, they could get their guy with the second pick possibly, depending which way they choose to go about. If the Browns get out to an early lead, they need to put the nail in the coffin quickly, give the Bengals no chance for a comeback.