Last week the Bengals lost to the Browns. Considering how hard that sentence is to type, I'm not going to say anything else about it.
This Week the Bengals are back at home and hosting the 2-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers which is the last game before their bye week. This is also a crucial game for the Bengals. A win will help the Bengals prepare for an extremely tough four game stretch in which they play the Falcons, Steelers, Colts and Dolphins. So, how do the Buccaneers match up to the Bengals compared to how the Browns did.
Josh Freeman VS Seneca Wallace:
Against the Bengals, Wallace didn't look terrific but he didn't look terrible either. He just did what he needed to do to win. So far this season, Wallace 522 yards three touchdowns and two interceptions. Josh Freeman, the second year quarterback out of Kansas State, has 544 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Freeman has also led the Buccaneers to a surprising 2-1 record against Cleveland, Carolina and Pittsburgh.
Winner: Josh Freeman
What the Bengals need to do: Tampa Bay has had a hard time protecting Freeman at time, giving up six sacks so what the Bengals need to do is rediscover their pass rush. They need to make Freeman throw the ball before he wants to and possibly get a couple sacks or at least knock him down every once in a while. I know, it's easier said than done.
Buccaneers Running Game VS Browns Running Game:
Where the hell did Peyton Hillis come from? I mean I know where he came from but, wow. That's all I can say. Hillis didn't just punish the Bengals, he's punished every single team he's faced so far this season. So far, Hillis has 322 yards and has scored a touchdown in every game so far this season making him one of the most sought after fantasy players. Since he's taken all of the carries instead of splitting them, he's run for over 100 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens and the Bengals. The Buccaneers main running back, Carnell "Cadillac" Williams has 139 yards and no touchdowns. LaGarrette Blount is the only Buccaneers running back with a touchdown but he only has 27 yards on six carries so far this season.
Winner: Browns Running Game
What the Bengals need to do: The Bengals need to shut down the struggling Buccaneers rushing game like they are completely capable of doing. I can understand a 6'2", 250 lb running back bruising his way over any defense but after last weeks embarrassing showing by the defense, they should be looking for redemption. That could spell bad news for the Buccs and good news for all of us.
Buccaneers Receivers VS Browns Receivers:
Browns receiver Josh Cribbs is one of the most explosive wide receivers in the NFL. On top of Cribbs, the Browns have Mohammed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and Chansi Stuckey. For the most part, the Bengals kept the Browns wide receivers in check but the tight ends were a different story. Wallace found his two tight ends, Benjamin Watson and Evan Moore for 84 yards and a touchdown. If opposing tight ends are going to be a problem for the Bengals then this week will be no exception. With the Buccaneers comes Kellen Winslow, who the Bengals should be familiar with. On top of Winslow, the Bengals will be facing Mike Williams, Micheal Spurlock, Sammie Stroughter and Arrelious Benn.
Winner: Browns Receivers.
What the Bengals need to do: The Bengals defensive backs need to do what they've been doing for the most part. There isn't a Josh Cribbs to worry about on the Buccaneers offense so they should have an easier job. Unfortunately, if a quarterback is able to sit in the pocket for 20 minutes, a receiver will get open. The Bengals pass rush needs to show up against the Buccaneers in order to shut down the passing game. Also, the Bengals need to keep tabs on Winslow at all times since he's become Freeman's favorite target.
Buccaneers Defense VS Browns Defense:
Neither the Buccaneers or the Browns have very good defenses. The Buccaneers have the 20th ranked defense when it comes to yards allowed and the Browns are ranked 22nd but it doesn't matter how good a defense is if the offense their facing is having problems.
Winner: Uh.... Hmmmm.... I don't know but I'm going to say they're about the same
What the Bengals need to do:
If the Bengals want to pass the ball then they should pass the ball. If they want to run the ball then run the ball. Considering that Tampa Bay has the 28th ranked defense against the run and the tenth ranked passing defense, I'll bet they try to run the ball a lot. If that's the case then the Bengals need to block well and Benson needs to do what he does best (I'm starting him this week... he better). Once the running game gets going and has the Buccs on their heals then whip out the passing game and make them pay for cheating up. It would be a great week for the offense to find itself heading into the bye week considering the teams that the Bengals play after the bye. Give us a show.