Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis emerged into the football spotlight last season when he ran for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns. Then he was on the cover for Madden NFL '12. The "Madden Curse" lives on.
According to Dan Kadar of SB Nation Cleveland, Hillis, one of the Browns most dynamic offensive forces will miss Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He will be missing his sixth straight game as he continues to nurse a hamstring injury. In four games this season Hillis has rushed for 211 yards on 60 carries and has scored two touchdowns.
During the season opener the Bengals traveled to Cleveland. Hillis managed to rush for 57 yards on 17 carries. The Bengals were able to keep him out of the end zone for the entire game.
Also the Browns will be without second-year safety T.J. Ward as he recovers from a sprained foot suffered two weeks ago. For the season Ward has 39 tackles, one forced fumble, and one sack. Against the Bengals during week one he compiled six tackles and nothing else.
Bengals fans probably remember Ward for the helmet-to-helmet hit he put on receiver Jordan Shipley. Unfortunately Shipley had to leave that game due to a concussion and he won't be suiting up on Sunday since he's out for the season with a torn ACL.
For the Bengals this great news. I don't care what others say, Hillis is always a threat to have a big game, despite his lack of success this season. Without Hillis the Browns offense is even worse shape than it already is. Cleveland lacks a big play-maker receiver and are now without a dependable running back.
As for Ward, I'm glad he's out, especially after last season. His absence is good news for the Bengals. Somehow the Browns have managed to have the best pass defense in the league by allowing an average of 166.5 yards per game through the air. Without Ward the Browns defense will have a major void to fill. Did I mention I don't like Ward?
Hopefully the Bengals will be able to rebound from their back-to-back losses and get back on the right track. I believe this is the week that the Bengals get back into the win column.