Of all the AFC North teams, Cedric Benson performs best against the Cleveland Browns. That's really a no-duh statement as the Browns don't have the Ravens or the Steelers' defense but when you look at the numbers that Benson puts up against the Browns, it goes beyond that.
He's never averaged under four yards per carry against the Browns in the five games he's played against them since coming to Cincinnati. He was held under 100 yards only twice and never below 60 yards. He has carried the ball for over 120 yards three times including two games in which he carried the ball over 150 yards.
All in all, he has carried the ball 127 times against the Browns for a total of 576 yards and two touchdowns. He has averaged 4.54 yards per carry in the five games he's played against the Browns and the Bengals won four of those five games.
In the last three games against the Browns, Benson has averaged 4.7 yards per carry. There isn't another opponent that the Bengals have played in that same span that Benson has averaged more yards per carry against. Of his play against the Browns, Benson simply said, "You just got to get out there and play physical and execute. It’s not rocket science."
That style of play will be important for the Bengals if they want to sweep the Browns and keep their playoff hopes alive in 2011, especially if A.J. Green misses his second straight game with a hyperextended knee. The Browns have the best pass defense in the NFL but they also have the No. 29 ranked run defense. Without Green, receivers Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell would have their work cut out for them, especially against Joe Haden, who has emerged as a shutdown corner and is ranked as the league's 16th best corner by ProFootballFocus.com.
It will be important for the Bengals to get the ground game going against the Browns on Sunday if they want to head into their second game against the Steelers with a 7-4 record. The game will likely be an ugly one but if Benson continues to do what he has done in the past against the Browns, the Bengals should come out on top.