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This Week Versus Last Week

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Last week, the Bengals added another number to their win column to advance their record to 2-1. The Bengals went to Carolina to take on the Panthers and because of the outstanding play of their defense, Cedric Benson's running and a dash of Mike Nugent, they returned victorious.

This week, the Bengals are reopening their AFC North hit list on the road in Cleveland. If the AFC North is a four-story building then the Browns would be the basement for a long time now (I guess I mean three stories and a basement). The Bengals, who used to be the basement, now is in the middle of a three way vicious cockfight to be the top floor because that's the only floor that has air conditioning in the summer and doesn't smell like rotten eggs in the winter. The Bengals already killed one purple rooster on their way to the top floor and now they are face to face with a brown one.

Let's see how the Browns match up to the Bengals compared to how the Panthers did:

Seneca Wallace/Jake Delhomme VS Jimmy Clausen:

It is unclear who will start Sunday against the Bengals. If Jake Delhomme is healthy then it will probably be him but if he can't go, backup Seneca Wallace, who looked fairly efficient against the Ravens last week, will start. It is hard to compare Wallace and Delhomme to Clausen because Clausen is a rookie with one game under his belt, Wallace and Delhomme aren't and their experience makes them better. Clausen may be the better quarterback down the road but for right now the edge will go with experience like it often does.

Winner: Wallace/Delhomme

What the Bengals need to do:

The Bengals need to do the same thing to Wallace/Delhomme that they did to Clausen and that is to make him feel rushed. Make sure that the Browns quarterback doesn't feel comfortable in the pocket and feels the need to rush his passes. If the Bengals can do that, they should be able to disrupt what the Browns call a passing game. They also need to be aware of Wallace's legs. Wallace is capable of scrambling out of the pocket and picking up some yards himself. If the Bengals pass rush flushes Wallace out of the pocket, somebody needs to be aware of where he is so he doesn't burn the Bengals with his legs.

Browns Running Game VS Panthers Running Game:

Against the Ravens defense that kept Cedric Benson at bay, Peyton Hillis ran for 144 yards and a touchdown. In fact, the guy has had a touchdown in all three games so far this season and is quickly being fought over in fantasy leagues everywhere. Hillis may be good, but he's not Jonathan Stewart and he's definitely not DeAngelo Williams.

Winner: Panthers Running Game

What the Bengals need to do:

The Bengals need to show Hillis the same respect that they showed Willaims and Stewart last week. Hillis might not be as good but that doesn't mean that he's not capable of hurting the Bengals just as easily. The interior defensive line needs to fill holes while the defensive ends need to make sure they contain Hillis and the linebackers need to be on the ball at all times.... basically, every defensive player just needs to do their job. Also, if the offense does their job and gets some points on the board early, the Browns would be forced to throw to play catchup which would limit the amount of Hillis' carries... that's probably the best way to take care of him.

Browns Receivers VS Panthers Receivers:

The Bengals faced one of the best receivers in the game last week in Steve Smith but after Smith, there's a considerable drop off in talent when it comes to the Panthers receivers. The Browns also have some talent at wide receiver, especially Josh Cribbs who is one of the most explosive players in the NFL. Cribbs, however, is no Steve Smith.

Winner: Panthers... but not by a lot.

What the Bengals need to do:

Whoever is in charge of covering Cribbs, whether it be Leon Hall or Jonathan Joseph, needs to make sure that they don't give up a big play. If the Bengals need to drop a safety to help keep Cribbs from burning the Bengals on a big play then they should do it. Other than Cribbs, the Bengals should be able to control the Browns passing game. And remember, wide receivers are only as good as their quarterback. If the Bengals can force the Browns quarterback, Wallace or Delhomme, to force bad throws and throw on the run, the Bengals secondary should clean up.

Browns Defense VS Panthers Defense:

It's hard to win on the road in the NFL. I don't care if you're playing in Detroit or if you're playing in New Orleans, any team can beat any other on any Sunday, especially when they are protecting their home turf. The Browns are no different. It is hard to judge this one. Against the Panthers, the Bengals offense struggled more than it should have. Will we see the same thing against the Browns? I hope not but you never know. It is hard to tell who's defense is tough and who's isn't when an offense seems to shoot itself in the foot.

Winner: Panthers Defense

What the Bengals need to do:

The Bengals need to do what they are perfectly capable of doing... score. The offensive line needs to remember the snap count, the wide receivers need to run the right routes, the offensive line needs to open holes for Benson and keep Palmer clean and Palmer needs to be accurate enough to move the ball down the field. Everybody on offense needs to do what they are being paid millions to do all of the time. Not some of the time or most of the time, they need to do it on every play. That's what winning teams do. Is this the game that the offense gets out of their funk or is this the game that proves to everybody that there is no funk and that this is just how it is? We'll find out Sunday.