What's the biggest factor Sunday?
Is it Carson Palmer and his array of great wide receivers? A re-born defensive front coming off a seven-sack game? Is it the ability to grind out a nasty running game? Is it containing Chad Johnson?
The talkative tight end, Kellen Winslow, says "My man Leigh Bodden is going to shut down Chad," Winslow said. "Leigh is the best cornerback in the league. It's a big challenge for him (Bodden), but it's also a big challenge for Chad. So tell him that."
"I can't be stopped, regardless of what Kellen Winslow says," Johnson said. "If he feels that strongly, that's good. His team needs to have faith in him (Bodden). There's nothing wrong with that at all."
After hesitating a few seconds, Johnson added, "You know what I feel. I feel that our defense is going to shut down Kellen Winslow. How about that?"
Johnson doesn't like the mention that a cornerback is capable of covering him. When it was noted that he hasn't had great days against the Browns, he shot back.
"I have six years worth of film," Johnson said. "Go get all of them and find someone who physically stopped me. You saw dropped balls in the Pepto game. Last year the second game here you saw balls all over the place because it was a heavy wind game.
"You didn't see anyone knock the ball down, physically jam me at the line, re-route me. C'mon now, let's talk football. It's humanely impossible to stop 85. I can't be stopped, period."
Scouts.com discusses the match-up.
This divisional battle of the two Ohio franchises is the Bengals' home opener. The last home game the Bengals played was their wild-card loss to Pittsburgh, when Carson Palmer blew out his knee. Well, Palmer is back and should cause the Browns all sorts of problems leading the Bengals' high-powered offense.
Cleveland has made great strides over the past two seasons to approach respectability, but the Browns still have their share of holes and their depth across the board is suspect -- not to mention they managed just three first downs in the first half at home vs. the Saints and were dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
The Bengals are the opposite. Few rosters have a talent level close to what Cincinnati can offer and this is a game that the Bengals need to decisively win to further establish themselves as a powerhouse in the division.
When the Browns have the ball
Rushing: Cleveland doesn't have a choice but to lean heavily on its running game in order to try to keep the high-powered Bengals' offense off the field and turn the game into a grind-it-out battle. Rookie Jerome Harrison is listed as the third running back, but he looks like a good one, and his big-play ability and pure speed should complement Reuben Droughns well. Expect Harrison to see some action... (more at ESPN Insider)
Passing: Marvin Lewis is a masterful defensive mind who excels at confusing quarterbacks while putting his defenders in position to get turnovers. Lewis will make second-year QB Charlie Frye's reads very difficult and should confuse the young signal caller with zone dogs, a variety of blitzes, and several different fronts and personnel groupings. The Bengals could target the Browns' new center and attack Frye up the middle of the formation... (more at ESPN Insider)
When the Bengals have the ball
Rushing: The Bengals have a physical, downhill rushing attack that features a massive athletic fullback in Jeremi Johnson and of course, bruising RB Rudi Johnson. The Bengals will run a lot of counters and isolation runs in an attempt to beat down the Browns' 3-4 defense. Johnson wears on a defense as well as any runner in the league and is one of those rare backs who seems to get stronger as the game goes along... (more at ESPN Insider)
Passing: The Browns' secondary has some injury issues and its cornerback depth is sparse. The Bengals may play a lot of three- and even four-wide receiver sets and just allow Palmer to pick the matchup he likes best. He could have plenty of favorable options. The Bengals' top three receivers are extremely dangerous and poised to exploit this weakness at home, particularly if T.J. Houshmandzadeh can play this week after being inactive for Week 1 with a heel injury... (more at ESPN Insider)
Butch also looks at the match-up.