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Primer: Cincinnati Bengals (2-11-1) at Cleveland Browns (4-10)

All-time glory of Staty goodness.

Game: Cincinnati Bengals (2-11-1) at Cleveland Browns (4-10)
Series Leader
: Series is tied at 35
Streak: Browns have won two of the past three
Coaches vs. Opponent: Lewis: 7-4. Crennel: 2-5.
Broadcast: CBS (1:00 PM ET): Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon. SIRIUS: 153 (Cin.), 127 (Cle.). XM: 104 (Cle.).
SB Nation: Dawgs by Nature
NFL.com: Game Center
Weather: 60% chance of snow showers, strong 30+ MPH winds, high of 32 [Weather.com]
Uniform: White
Television Coverage: The state of Ohio and portions of Eastern Kentucky [The 506]

If you combine the average points scored by the Bengals and Browns, you'd only average two points more than the average scoring by the New Orleans Saints. When the Cincinnati Bengals head to Cleveland, the game will sport two of the league's worst total offenses; Bengals ranked 32nd, Browns 30th. In the past four games, the Browns haven't scored an offensive touchdown (Brandon McDonald returned a 24-yard interception for a touchdown breaking their string of no touchdowns as a team against the Eagles on Monday Night Football). With Ken Dorsey expected to make his first start at Cleveland, Jamal Lewis has failed to rush for more than 100 yards in any game. Even though Braylon Edwards has five touchdowns, 19 receptions and 220 yards receiving in his past three games against the Bengals, this week he's expressed frustration, which could overwhelmingly add to the drama/distraction of an already rapid following to let head coach Romeo Crennel. Distraction played a large part of the Bengals surprising victory over the Redskins. If that's not enough, Dorsey may be without Kellen Winslow and (definitely without) backup tight end, Steve Heiden.

During their four-game losing streak, the Browns have been outscored 84-31 (-53) while the Bengals, during that same stretch, have been outscored 109-36 (-73). Combined, the Bengals and Browns are 1-7 in their past four games, and the Browns have only scored three more touchdowns than the Bengals all season. Even worse, the Browns are 1-6 at home while the Bengals are 0-7 in away games for a combined 1-13 in respective records based on home/away records for the season. This weekend's broadcast (CBS, 1:00 pm) of Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon are thrilled.

We can spin a quarterback's troubled season; in three of his past four games against AFC North teams, Ryan Fitzpatrick has recorded a touchdown. Even though he recorded a season-high passer rating of 89.6, the Bengals offense struggled against Washington after scoring two quick touchdowns in the first quarter last week. In 10 starts this season, Fitzpatrick has recorded 200-yard passing performances only twice, and has one game with multiple touchdown passes. In the first Bengals/Browns go-around, Fitzpatrick recorded three interceptions barely getting work in that week because it was determined on the weekend that Carson Palmer would his first game this season. To make matters worse, Fitzpatrick has been sacked 18 times in the past five games, fumbled four times (lost one) and thrown three picks.

In the same game against, Cedric Benson ran 21 times, giving him a personal record of 5-0-1 when he carries the ball 20 times or more. On the other hand, Cleveland is 5-0 when Jamal Lewis rushes 25 times more in a game -- done only once this season, against the Bengals. As a team, the Bengals have rushed for 100 yards or more in only four games (Giants, Texans, Jaguars, Redskins). Of the past five games, the Bengals have rushed for 56, 43, 57, 82 and 106 respectively; in none of those games did the Bengals have higher than a 3.6 yards-per-rush average. A really stagnant running game, with a boring passing game, the Bengals have failed to eclipse 300 yards of total offense in 11 of 14 games this season; below 200 yards total offense in three.

Where the Bengals lack, the Browns make up for. Based on turnover differentials, the Bengals are six in the hole while the Browns have taken the ball away nine times more than given up (bucking the trend that a positive turnover differential wins you games). Their 22 team interceptions is tied for first in the NFL. Based on yardage, the Bengals defense edges the Browns. Based on scoring, the Browns have allowed fewer points and touchdowns.

Will the Bengals offense sustain consistent drives to allow an aggressive Bengals defense to smoother a clearly struggling Browns offense? Or will the Browns find some rhythm against the Bengals, score a few points, and be the less-struggling offense (which I believe is the key to this game)? However, based off the way the Bengals held against the Redskins, and how badly the Browns have struggled recently, I would be comfortable enough to say that the Bengals win Sunday in Cleveland.

Team Rankings

Offense Bengals Browns
Total 239.4 (32nd) 262.6 (30th)
Passing 159.0 (30th) 165.6 (29th)
Passing TDs 10 (30th) 11 (29th)
Rushing 80.4 (29th) 97.0 (26th)
Rushing TDs 5 (32nd) 6 (30th)
Scoring 12.4 (32nd) 16.6 (28th)
     
Defense Bengals Browns
Total 343.3 (22nd) 363.5 (27th)
Passing 218.4 (18th) 216.1 (17th)
Passing TDs 22 (28th) 18 (t-17th)
Rushing 124.9 (23rd) 147.4 (28th)
Rushing TDs 15 (t-22nd) 13 (19th)
Scoring 25.6 (t-27th) 21.8 (17th)
Sacks 13 (31st) 17 (30th)
QB Rating 93.1 (24th) 79.7 (12th)
20-Yard Passes Allowed 32 (t-4th) 42 (t-24th)
Interceptions 8 (t-27th) 22 (t-1st)
     
Special Teams Bengals Browns
Kickoff Return 23.8 (t-9th) 23.6 (11th)
Punt Return 8.2 (25th) 9.0 (19th)
Punting (Net) 34.3 (30th) 38.3 (9th)

Carson Palmer (FYI, since he's not likely to play)

Date Result Comp. Att. Yards TDs Int
12.23.07 W, 19-14 11 21 115 1 2
9.16.07 L, 45-51 33 50 401 6 2
11.26.06 W, 30-0 25 32 275 3 1
9.17.06 W, 34-17 24 40 352 2 2
12.11.05 W, 23-20 13 27 93 1 1
9.11.05 W, 27-13 26 34 280 2 1
11.28.04 W, 58-48 22 29 251 4 3
10.17.04 L, 17-34 20 36 148 1 1

Chad Johnson

Date Result Rec Yards TDs
9.28.08 L, 12-20 3 28 1
12.23.07 W, 19-14 4 44 0
9.16.07 L, 45-51 11 209 2
11.26.06 W, 30-0 7 123 0
9.17.06 W, 34-17 6 78 1
12.11.05 W, 23-20 2 22 0
9.11.05 W, 27-13 9 91 0
11.28.04 W, 58-48 10 117 1
10.17.04 L, 17-34 3 37 0
12.28.03 L, 14-22 4 29 0
9.28.03 L, 16-22 3 67 2
11.17.02 L, 20-27 4 103 1
9.15.02 L, 7-20 4 58 1
11.25.01 L, 0-18 1 7 0
10.14.01 W, 24-14 5 68 0

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Date Result Rec Yards TDs
9.28.08 L, 12-20 6 50 0
12.23.07 W, 19-14 2 25 1
9.16.07 L, 45-51 9 69 2
11.26.06 W, 30-0 7 79 1
9.17.06 W, 34-17 -- -- --
12.11.05 W, 23-20 6 53 1
9.11.05 W, 27-13 6 75 0
11.28.04 W, 58-48 4 79 2
10.17.04 L, 17-34 -- -- --
12.28.03 L, 14-22 -- -- --
9.28.03 L, 16-22 -- -- --
11.17.02 L, 20-27 3 59 0
9.15.02 L, 7-20 5 58 0
11.25.01 L, 0-18 -- -- --
10.14.01 W, 24-14 -- -- --

Practice Report

BENGALS WED THUR FRI
QB Carson Palmer (right elbow) OUT OUT  
T Anthony Collins (knee) DNP FP  
C Eric Ghiaciuc (illness) DNP FP  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hand) DNP FP  
LB Rashad Jeanty (shin) DNP LP  
T Levi Jones (hamstring) DNP DNP  
RB Kenny Watson (hamstring) DNP LP  
G Bobbie Williams (toe) DNP FP  
T Stacy Andrews (illness) -- DNP  
CB David Jones (knee)   DNP  
S Chinedum Ndukwe (foot) LP FP  
TE Ben Utecht (foot) LP LP  
RB Chris Perry (groin) FP FP  
       
BROWNS WED THUR FRI
WR Joshua Cribbs (back) DNP LP  
DT Shaun Rogers (neck) DNP LP  
DT Shaun Smith (calf) DNP DNP  
DE Corey Williams (shoulder) DNP LP  
LB Leon Williams (knee) DNP DNP  
TE Kellen Winslow (ankle) DNP DNP  
P Dave Zastudil (right knee) DNP DNP  
RB Jerome Harrison (ribs) LP LP  
G Eric Steinbach (back) LP LP  
RB Lawrence Vickers (ankle) LP LP