The Cincinnati Bengals should have a sort of reprieve this weekend. Instead of playing a division favorite in Baltimore that many have tabbed for the Super Bowl, the Bengals will host the Cleveland Browns this weekend in Cincinnati. But Josh the Browns always play the Bengals tough, so don't say that or you're going to ruin everything! Along with refusing to believe that these pages hold deity-like powers to predictive events that plays out the schemes of the universe, there's reasons to believe what we believe.
The one hanging thread after Monday Night's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, is that the Cincinnati Bengals actually employed an effective rushing offense. They generated 129 yards rushing on 28 carries, averaging 4.6 yards per rush; the best average against the Ravens defense dating back to 2003. It was an overpowering performance by guys like Clint Boling, Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith against a base three-down scheme, opening lanes for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. And if not for the Bengals sudden mid-quarter collapse in the third, this rushing offense very well could have surpass 150 yards on Monday.
Just like the Philadelphia Eagles, pounding 150 yards rushing against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, led by LeSean McCoy's 5.5 yard/rush average. And the Eagles rushing offense isn't much different than Cincinnati's, with a base west coast offense integrated into the philosophy. Most of McCoy's runs were chunks of yardage, like 22, 17, 15, 10, 9 and if not for Michael Vick pretending linebackers don't exist in football, it could have been much worse for Cleveland.
Plus look at history. Cincinnati has historically run well against the Browns. Of Cedric Benson's seven games against Cleveland, he surpassed 100 yards four times (all wins) and 150 yards twice. Remember Rudi Johnson? Between 2004 and 2007, Johnson generated 100 yards rushing in four of seven games played, including a 202 yard performance in 2004.
With the probable return of Bernard Scott and Cincinnati craving a more balanced offense using an effective running game to dictate the pace, this weekend against the Browns could be a great test to employ such a philosophy.