The Bengals are getting to take on the winless Browns on Sunday, and it seems like it will be an easy win. Still there is a reason they play the game. Here are five Bengals who need to show up to prevent the Browns from pulling off the upset.
Wide receiver Alex Erickson
Erickson has been getting praise all week it seems. He only played a handful of snaps against the Broncos, but the Bengals wouldn’t have been able to pull out the win without him. He caught his first touchdown last week, and he helped convert a third down that helped the Bengals milk some clock.
It is hard to get Erickson on the field because he is so good as a returner as well, but he showed he needs to be on the field more offensively. When he is out there he makes plays, and Andy Dalton seems to look for him.
Running back Joe Mixon
Mixon is looking to bounce back after a poor performance last week. It wasn’t his fault that his offensive line was completely outmatched by the Broncos’ front seven. Still when he gets 20 carries he needs to make something more happen than just 49 yards.
The Browns have held opposing running backs to 3.1 yards per carry, so Mixon and his offensive line will have to step up. Mixon had 17 carries for 29 yards the last time these two teams met, and that can’t happen again. The Bengals can’t keep winning without a run game.
Wide receiver A.J. Green
The Bengals go as Green goes. When he has a good game, the Bengals are thriving. When the offense doesn’t get him involved, the whole team suffers. The more Green gets involved early the more it opens up the defense for everyone else. Green caught a touchdown the last time these two met, and he will probably have to do it again to ensure a Bengals victory.
Quarterback Andy Dalton
Dalton has made a living beating up on the Browns. Dalton threw for four touchdowns and no interceptions the last time these teams met. Dalton has also been on fire since the bye week. He has nine touchdowns with only two interceptions in those five games. That is including the three he threw against the Broncos last week.
It is pretty easy. For the Bengals to avoid the upset Dalton has to take care of the ball. It should be an easy win for the Bengals, but the easiest way to screw it up is by giving the ball away. Dalton has done a fantastic job with that recently, so here is to hoping he keeps it up.
Billings is finally playing. In fact he is playing so well, that it makes me wonder why we weren’t playing him before. Billings was often last in the defensive line rotation. Pat Sims and Michael Johnson would routinely be out there instead of Billings. When Sims got hurt though Billings stepped right in next to Geno Atkins and has been proving why he was so hyped up after the Bengals drafted him.
He has been clogging running lanes and even getting into the face of the quarterback. If he can continue playing like this, the middle middle of the Bengals’ defensive line could be dominant for a few years.