Cedric Benson has played against the Browns five times as the Bengals feature running back. In those five games, he has never been held below 60 yards rushing and he's rushed for over 150 yards twice. The Browns are the team that he consistently plays his best.
The Browns have been very good against the pass. So good, in fact, that they have the top ranked passing defense in the league. However, they haven't been great at stopping the run and if the Bengals want to win, they will need to take advantage of the Browns' No. 29 ranked run defense.
A.J. Green is returning from injury and may not be 100 percent quite yet and Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell have been inconsistent throughout their careers in Cincinnati. The Browns top-ranked pass defense may slow the Bengals receivers and passing game down. If that stops their offense from being able to move the ball, the Bengals may have a tough time winning the game.
If the Bengals can run the ball, though, they should be more than okay. When a team cannot stop the run, it is nearly impossible for them to win. In fact, the only way to beat a team whose running game is unstoppable is to outscore them. I don't envision the Browns having the kind of offense that can't be stopped, especially when they're facing a defense as talented and tough as the Bengals' defense.
If Cedric Benson can put up the kind of numbers that he has against the Browns in the past, and with Cleveland's poor rushing defense I think he can, there is no question that the Bengals will win the game. If he gets shut down, it will be a whole different ball game.
That is why Cedric Benson's ability to run the ball is the biggest key to a Bengals victory over the Browns on Sunday.