August 17, 2014

Week 1: The Browns Will Win If…

It’s finally here! The Browns are ready to kick off the regular season, and the Cincinnati Bengals come calling. Here we have Pat Shurmur’s first regular season game as a head coach; on the other side, it’s Andy Dalton’s first game as an NFL quarterback. Welcome to the league, Ginger!

brownsbengals
On paper, the Bengals look to be in for a season of struggles, and given the fact that they’re starting a rookie at quarterback–on the road–this game seems like it’s there for the Browns’ taking. The Browns’ offense looked efficient at times during the pre-season, but struggled in Philly against a solid defense. Conversely, the Browns’ defense was a bit rough, though as the pre-season wore on guys like Phil Taylor became more noticeable. Call this a measuring stick for Cleveland: how “on the way up” are they? Beating the Bengals would help to define that a bit. Without further ado…

The Browns Will Win If…

This year, we will be publishing select portions of our BWWI over at Cleveland.com.  For Craig’s and Rick’s takes, please head over to Still WFNY.  We have also invited Daniel Wolf from National Football Authority to contribute to our weekly post. If you haven’t already, check out his website and twitter for Browns news and info.  Take it away, Daniel…

Daniel Wolf : … if the youth can mature at an accelerated rate now that they are receiving more reps and playing time than past regimes. It may sound a bit broad, but it is the first regular season game for this staff and roster and no one knows how this team will perform on the field yet. The one thing past regimes failed to accomplish was grooming young and talented players into guys who can produce on the field. Not only is Pat Shurmur’s approach with youth refreshing, but it is the best way to go about building a team that can win in the long term.

Scott: …they win the sometimes-cliché “turnover battle.”  I suspect that Colt McCoy will be throwing the ball a lot more within a regular season NFL contest than any of us have ever witnessed.  I suspect that Andy Dalton will be throwing the ball a lot more than he would hope to due to a combination of Dick Jauron planting TJ Ward in the box and the Bengals playing from behind.  When the air assaults commence, the Browns defensive line needs to increase the quarterback hurries and the defensive backs need to be playing center field.  Executed properly and the questionble defense is not on the field as often and the Browns’ scoring opportunities multiply.  They may not cash in every time, but the more chances, obviously, the better.  Force the mistakes, capitalize as often as possible, bring home the W.  Profit.

DP: …they make Andy Dalton feel and play like a rookie. This is Dalton’s first career start. On the road. In Cleveland. On offense, Cleveland needs to control the ball with runs and precise passes. If they can wear down Cincy’s defense while also putting some points on the board, they will win. Dalton will most likely lean on his running game early and often, so if the Browns can get a lead that will force him to make plays. If the Browns can bring some of the pressure they did against Philly in the third pre-season game, can get Dalton rattled, and force him into some mistakes, I really like their chances.

Andrew …I suspect most of us are going to have some version of “shut down the Bengals’ running game”, and for good reason. The Browns are facing a rookie QB throwing to a 2nd year WR and a rookie WR. If the Browns are going to get beat by Andy Dalton, then nothing really matters because the Browns are going to be a horrible team. Assuming the Browns are at least a moderately decent team, than the only way the Bengals are going to beat them is if Cedric Benson carries the team. So that is what the Browns must take away from the Bengals. I feel like specific game-planning for a particular match-up is a strength of Dick Jauron’s (if his history is indication) and I suspect he will be keenly aware of this and have the defense ready to stop the run. But seriously, if the Browns lose this game, we better be prepared for another long season of anguish.

TD …first things first. The “will win if” stuff aside, the Browns MUST win this game for so many reasons. First and foremost, the Bengals are the opponent and have the look of a team that will be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. They are starting a rookie QB (Andy Dalton) on the road in a hostile environment. If the Browns want to take the next step forward in their climb towards relevancy again, they absolutely cannot afford a home loss to the Bengals. Almost as important as gaining confidence in the new system, is keeping the fans from the “here we go again” mentality that will 100% be here should they lose. Imagine what Monday morning will be like here in Cleveland next week. Unbearable to think about. I think the Browns win with ease if they are able to get in the face of Dalton and rattle him early. Put eight men in the box to stop Cedric Benson and force Dalton to beat you. I think its pretty simple. Offensively, I can’t wait to see Colt McCoy with a full arsenal of plays at his disposal. I expect to see a lot of Peyton Hillis as well.

Kirk …they are tired of opening the season 0-1. Simple as that. This is a game that the Browns should undeniably win. If they are efficient and accurate in the pass game and stout and athletic up front, they should be able to take care of business. We all know the Browns can and will run the ball. I’m looking forward to seeing just how much. No doubt the offense has changed for the better, but there are strides in the running game that could and should be carried over. Defensively, let’s hope the young D-line doesn’t get starry-eyed trying to bring down Benson. He’s a good back, but the Browns defense should not let him reach 100 yards. Knocking around Dalton early and often could be the biggest key of all.

—————————–

Now, for the other side of the coin. We reached out to a couple of Cincy bloggers, and got some solid responses. Without further ado…

The Bengals Will Win If…

Jason Buck is a co-founder of Who Dey Revolution – a Bengals blog with a mission to bring to light the consistent failures of the Bengals front office since Mike Brown took control in 1991. Who Dey Revolution was founded in 2008 and made national headlines with “Project Mayhem”.

…the Browns make too many mistakes. The Bengals have rid themselves of sideshow characters like Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, but they are starting two wide receivers with minimal (Jerome Simspon) and zero (A.J. Green) NFL experience. Not to mention, an inexperienced offensive line due to the suspension of RG Bobbie Williams and a rookie quarterback. On defense, the Bengals lost CB Jonathan Joseph to free agency (Texans) and have Adam Jones on the PUP list. Defensive line is where the Bengals are likely deepest, however if they are on the field the entire game – taking beatings from Peyton Hillis – it’s foreseeable they could wear down in the second half.

To have any chance in this game, the Bengals need to pound Cedric Benson 25-30 times to protect Andy Dalton from throwing more than 20 times. They will also need to force turnovers and set up the offense in great field position to steal a touchdown or two. The Bengals don’t possess a comeback offense (especially not in week 1), so if the Bengals go down 14 points or more – game over.

All that being said – you never know with these two teams. I’ll never forget the Bengals home finale loss in 2003 – I think Lee Suggs (186 yards, 2 TD’s) is still running up and down the Paul Brown Stadium grass.

—————————–

Jason Garrison is the editor of SB Nation’s Cincinnati Bengals website, CincyJungle.com, and is also a contributor for SB Nation’s NFL website. Jason hosts a weekly podcast called Real Football Talk with CincyJungle.com, and he graduated from University of Cincinnati with a journalism degree.

…they don’t turn over the ball and their defense can stop Peyton Hillis from running over them. I’m not expecting a high scoring game and Andy Dalton doesn’t need to throw five touchdown passes to get the Bengals off to a 1-0 start to the season. All he needs to do is manage the game and not turn the ball over. The movement of the offense will mostly depend on Cedric Benson and the running game and if the offense can score two touchdowns without turning the ball over, I think the Bengals can win.

Defensively, the Bengals will need to get back to where they were in 2009 — a top-five unit. Even though they lost Johnathan Joseph in free agency, stopping the Browns passing attack isn’t too much of a worry because I don’t think it’s the strength of their team. Sure Colt McCoy looked good during the preseason, but he doesn’t have an overabundance of talent at the receiver position and the Bengals have a fairly strong secondary. Peyton Hillis and the running game does scare me, though. The Bengals front-seven will need to be on top of their game to shut him down. If they can, and if the Bengals can just put a couple of scores on the board, I think the Bengals win the game.

If they can’t stop the run, it will be a different story.

—————————–

What say, there, fuzzy britches?

  • Stinkfist

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Andy Dalton’s first play in the NFL will be a play-action bomb to AJ Green, who will be subsequently decapitated by TJ Ward

  • BuckeyeDawg

    If the Browns truly want to take the next step toward being a contender again, they simply have to win this game. To be a contender, you have to beat the teams that you are better than, and this game fits that bill. The Bengals are a mess, and the Browns are the better team. There is no doubt in my mind.

    The Browns will win if they don’t turn the ball over, can establish a running game, and can stop the Bengals running game. Make Andy Dalton beat us. No offense to him, but if we shut down the Bengals running game, we likely win.

    This is a game that I fully expect the Browns to win…and that is what scares me. It seems like we always find a way to lose one to the Bengals that we shouldn’t. I will be ticked off beyond belief if I have to come here on Monday and read about how the Browns blew this game. Call me cautiously optimistic…I think the Browns will get it done…but there is that little voice in the back of my head that has seen so many dumb things happen (ahem…Dwyane Rudd…ahem) that I won’t be satisfied until I see the clock hit 0:00.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    @buckeyedawg

    I was at the Dwayne Rudd game…still frustrates me to this day.

    Our Browns will win if they apply pressure to Dalton. Blitzing, blitzing, blitzing…and oh yeah, blitzing should be the featured dish served to the rook. He won’t be a le to escape like Vick did against the eagles. I’m not so concerned about “stopping” the run completely. Unless, Benson has a 200+ yard game I haven’t seen, Dalton will need to throw, and he won’t be able to do that while running for his life.

    24-10 Browns Win.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Also, I disagree with Jason Garrison’s belief that Dalton only needs to “manage the game.” Mark Sanchez only needs to manage the game, because he’s got enough talent around him to pick up the slack. Dalton has a rookie wideout and Cedric Benson.

    If I was a Bengals fan, I would stop telling myself, “don’t worry, Cedric Benson will carry us to a win” right now.

  • B-bo

    It’s all about the lines in this one for the Browns. This patchwork o-line has to be able to give us something resembling what we are accustomed to in terms of run blocking for Hillis. If McCoy has time to pick the defense apart, then we could wrap things up early. Defensively, stopping the run is, of course, job one. But that won’t mean much if we don’t then make Dalton look like the rookie he is by putting him on his back or forcing bad decisions. The definition of “demoralizing” would be getting picked apart by that kid. At home. In the opener.

    On paper, this game is probably even more winnable than the opener in Tampa appeared to be last season. I was confident then, but I am not now. I just can’t shake the feeling that the Browns will find a way to disappoint us in yet another season opener at home. Should we win? Absolutely. But the o-line issues, the new offensive/defensive schemes, and an inexperienced QB all worry me, especially when they are the favorite going in. It just has all the makings for a depressing Sunday afternoon. Expectations for the week (and frankly the season) must be tempered. As always, though, I’m hoping for the best. Go Browns

  • http://serandez.blogspot.com Ezzie

    Still like the feature with the extended reviews from the other side – it’s great to hear outside opinions.

    I think the first Bengals reviewer hit it best. The only way the Browns are losing this is if Benson and the Bengals’ O-line dominate while Dalton makes no mistakes… and even then they need to stop Hillis.

    One of the most refreshing things this year is that the Browns’ schedule really should help the young talent develop. Not sure who heard Holmgren this morning on Mike and Mike, but it was interesting (if brief). He seems to be really focused on tempering expectations even as he feels the Browns “have enough talent” that’s “very very young”. The Browns’ schedule (thanks to Peyton Manning) gives them some nice opportunities not only to win but to really develop confidence and get better each week, since the schedule gets progressively more difficult but still manageable until those last five games.

  • CKFresh

    @C-Bus Kevin

    “Dalton has a rookie wideout and Cedric Benson.”

    Yeah, Cedric Benson is a very good back. I’m sure you’re pretty high on Peyton Hillis right? Benson’s yards per season over the last two years is BETTER than Peyton Hillis’ “breakout season” last year.

    Last season, on a terrible team, Benson finished the year with nearly as many yards as Hillis.

    Yes, Hillis likely has a brighter future at this point, but to write Benson off as some scrub is silly.

    As for AJ Green… He was touted by most “analysts” as the best player in the entire NFL draft this year. Dude is a freak of nature. As a rookie, he is certainly better than any receiver on the Browns’ roster.

  • typo

    What B-bo said.

  • Bengal Fan

    Based on all of the comments posted, it seems that Browns fans are living in a vacuum. If you match the strengths and weaknesses of each segment of both teams, you will get a different picture. i.e. check out what the Bengals 1st team did against the run in pre-season. They also have a deeper secondary than they did in 2009 when they swept the division. I heard a lot of negative about Dalton’d inexperience, however, he has a very solid “O” line to protect him. Again, look at 1st team pre-season protection. Dalton is smart and I’m sure the new “O” coach (Grueden) will manage his progression. Where the brown’s have the best opportunity is in creating turnovers. This was a big problem area for the Bengals in pre-season. I believe whoever wins the turnover battle will win this game. My prediction: Bengals 20 – Browns 17.

  • Cory

    They score more points.

    -John Madden

  • CKFresh

    2010 – Browns rank: 31st in scoring, 29th in offense (20th rushing, 29th passing), 22nd in defense (27th in rushing, 18th passing), tied for 15th in turnover margin at minus-1.

    What exactly did the Browns do in the off-season to change those terrible stats?

    Switch to a 4-3?

  • -bobby-

    @ Bengal fan- You make some valid points, but in no way is having a “deeper secondary” better then having Joseph and Hall. Clements is older and not as fast as he even used to be, Joseph in his prime was still better then Clements in his prime.

    Also, very much disagree with the 2nd Cincy poster. I guess until Colt proves something dont be worried… but I owuld be worried. We have more receiving talent then you would expect.

  • christopher

    QB: Edge Cleveland — McCoy having played actual NFL speed last year.
    WR: Edge Cleveland — more experience and more depth
    TE: Edge Cleveland — more expereience more depth
    RB: Edge Cincinatti — Benson being proven over several years
    OLine: Even — both teams have questions due to injury
    Dline: Cincinatti — more depth and experience
    LB: Cleveland — more depth and experience
    DB: Cleveland (although Haden on Green is going to be awesome to watch)
    S: Cleveland — Ward is the second coming of Troy Pollulmoamala

    On paper this game is easily winnable by the Browns….on the other hand we have been down this road before.

    Either way the Battle For Ohio should be a fun one to watch.

    GO BROWNS!

  • Big Z

    Fantastic article, I especially like the addition of the bloggers from Cincinnati.

    If Cedric Benson runs on the Browns this game it’s gonna be a long year – People in EGYPT know that Benson is gonna get a load of carries. That said, PROTECT THE FOOTBALL and SCORE IN THE REDZONE!

  • Big Z

    @ Bengal Fan

    Not to criticize, but c’mon, the pre-season doesn’t mean jack. However, I do agree w/ you that the turnover battle may decide the game.

  • mgbode

    on defense:

    #1 – have Rubin introduce Andy Dalton to the NFL. Wouldn’t mind Phil Taylor being there for the introduction as well.

    #2 – have Haden introduce AJ Green to the rigors of trying to get off the LOS. I want to see him being really physical with AJ.

    #3 – have the rest of the defense make Benson wish his prison sentence wasn’t commuted. I expect a heavy dose of Cedric.

    on offense:

    #1 – plenty of misdirection plays. counter runs, get Cribbs the ball on an end-around or two, play-fake passes. Cinci’s D style tends to bite on action, so let’s see if we can use it to our advantage.

    #2 – abuse their non-Hall secondary. have Colt spot Hall, and then throw it elsewhere. not that Hall is all-world, but he’s the best they have and the rest are not even good (IMO).

    #3 – our OL > their DL. let’s use that to get Hillis a big game and build our OL confidence.

  • Bengal Fan

    I agree, it should be a good game. Although you’re right about the Browns “more experience” at TE & WR, the Bengals have a good stable of no name youngsters at those positions who are hungry and more than willing to do the heavy lifting (blocking) that TO and Ocho were not. It should be fun watching the match-ups! At any rate, I hope both teams exceed expectations! It’s tough being an Ohio boy in New Jersey.

    Good luch Browns…. Go Bengals!!!

  • mgbode

    It’s laughable that Cedric Benson would even be in the discussion as best AFC North RB for 2010 (which leads into 2011 as he gets another year of tread on those tires)

    He’s the oldest starting RB in the division with the most career carries (that’s a bad thing you know)

    He had the least yards rushing though not by much (1111-Benson, 1177 Hillis, 1220-Rice, 1273 Mendenhall)

    He had by far the worst YPC last year (3.5-Benson, 3.9-Mendenhall, 4.0-Rice, 4.4-Hillis)

    He had the 2nd worst receiving yards and was about 1/3 Hillis and Rice in that category (168-Mendenhall, 178-Benson, 477-Hillis, 556-Rice).

    He had the 2nd least amount of total TDs (6-Rice, 7-Benson, 13-Mendenhall&Hillis)

    He had the 2nd most fumbles (8-Hillis, 7-Benson, 2-Mendenhall, 0-Rice)

    Oh, and he got to miss portions of camp while sitting in a jail cell in Austin, TX. I’m sure that helped his preparation as well.

    So, he stands out in exactly 0 categories as he is the worst or 2nd worst in every single one (and very close to the worst in each).

    but, besides that, Benson is great :)

  • mgbode

    @christopher – I disagree with you on the WR category. I think the Bengals have far more experience and depth there. Simpson/Shipley/Caldwell all had good games for them last year and then they went out and added AJ (who should have typical rookie struggles).

    I think they are more proven with more experience than our crew. I just hope that having a rookie QB trying to get them the ball makes the difference.

  • Bengal Fan

    I somewhat agree with Big Z’s comment about pre-season, however, given the lockout, the youth on both teams, and the limited amount of ball handling during preseason, looking at pre-season performance does have merit. And Dalton’s performance is deceiving since Green dropped 5 passes from Dalton in the Jets game. Like I said, he’s smart, will have adequate protection and will be managed. As far as Benson goes, he now has a FB leading the way that he didn’t have last year. I expect he’ll break a hundred Sunday.

    And, as a Bengal fan, I most certainly understand frustration with both our teams.

  • mgbode

    also, I was curious, so I went and looked at the AJ Green vs. Joe Haden matchups in college (according to both in interviews this week they matched up against each other)

    Oct 31, 2009 – 3rec 50yds 0TD
    Nov 1, 2008 – 5rec 91yds 0TD (1INT for Haden returned 88yds)

    Stafford was the QB in the 2008 game. Doesn’t really tell us all that much as those numbers weren’t terrible, but were not great either (both in blowout wins for the Gators).

    I was just curious and figured others might be as well.

  • Bengal Fan

    THAT’S A 17.5 YDS PER CATCH…..NOT BAD!

  • mgbode

    yeah, but haden limited him to only 4 catches per game. that’s why it’s really inconclusive. perhaps florida’s talent was just so much better than UGa’s that they couldn’t utilize that matchup more. or maybe Haden covered him well and AJ got some garbage time stats.

    not sure.

  • christopher

    mgbode

    agreed that Simpson, Shipley and Caldwell all performed well last year…that is until Ward let Shipley know who runs things in C-Town (OUCH).

    i seperated the WR/TE category and should have combine them seeing as how the Browns will rely heavily on the TE’s as receivers and in that category we are dominant.

  • Bengal Fan

    And the Bengals have:

    Jermaine
    Gresham TE #84 Height:6-5
    Weight:260
    Age:23
    College:Oklahoma
    Hometown:Ardmore, OK
    Experience:2

    MCcOY WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO RELY ON THEM A LOT SINCE IDON’T THINK HE’S GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF TIME TO THROW. Bengals have some pass rushers(healthy) this year.

  • Bengal Fan

    This probably counts for something.

    15-9 – Bengals record vs. Browns since 1999
    7-5- Bengals record in Cleveland since 1999
    COACHES
    CIN: Marvin Lewis 60-67-1 regular season, 0-2 postseason in ninth season, 11-5 vs. Browns.
    CLE: Pat Shurmur 0-0 in first season.

  • mgbode

    @christopher – that’s fair and funny. good combo.

    @Bengal Fan – Gresham had an allright year. He very well could progress. Alot will depend on how quickly Dalton comes up to speed.

    as for pass rushers:
    -no Odom
    -Geathers had 1 season with more than 3.5sacks in 7 seasons. And that was in 2006.
    -Peko (starting LDT) has 1 season with more than 1.5 sacks in 5 seasons (also 2006)
    -Atkins (starting RDT) is a 2nd year guy who had 3 sacks last year playin in all 16 games
    -Michael Johnson (starting RDE) is a 3rd year guy who had 3 sacks his rookie year and 2.5 sacks last year playing all 16 games.

    Adding up expected sack values based on recent averages would be 3.5+1.5+3+3 = 11 sacks total in a 16 game season. Even saying the youngsters progress some and you get a few sacks from the backups would only bring the total to just over 1 sack per game.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Unrelated, but the Browns are 6.5 point favorites…can’t remember the last time I saw the Browns favored by a TD in Vegas. Third largest spread in the NFL this week.

  • Bengal Fan

    This should count for something:

    15-9 – Bengals record vs. Browns since 1999
    7-5- Bengals record in Cleveland since 1999
    COACHES
    CIN: Marvin Lewis 60-67-1 regular season, 0-2 postseason in ninth season, 11-5 vs. Browns.
    CLE: Pat Shurmur 0-0 in first season.
    And Zimmer, a great “D” Coordinator

    Also, we have an experienced TE that can catch and block.

    I’m really looking forward to getting this season underway!

  • Bengal Fan

    Sorry for the double post – had a computer glich.

    Yea, the 6.5 point spread is interesting… but do you really believe it?

    Honestly?

  • Bengal Fan

    Regarding sacks from previous years: Rey Maualuga is now at MLB where he is most productive and experienced and comfortable. And last couple of years, the bengals “D” has been plagued with injuries. They are pretty healthy now and have some depth. Again, look at their 1st team pre-season stats, especially last two games.

    Look out Colt!

  • mgbode

    sorry, but if you are going to argue that 2-down Rey is the answer to your defense, then I’m going to have to stop trying to have a discussion with you on the matter.

    the good news for the Bengals is that the Browns DEs are even more unproven/unproductive than theirs. I have high hopes for our DTs, but even there, Rubin is switching to 4-3 assignments and Phil Taylor is a rookie.

  • mgbode

    why should records the teams have against each other since 1999 matter for a game where the Browns completely changed their offense and defense and the Bengals are breaking in a new QB?

    for the Ravens vs. Steelers, comparing the last few years makes sense (they are largely the same teams). for the Bengals/Browns? too much churn.

    i did get a chuckle out of the Marvin Lewis comp to Shurmur. At least Pat doesn’t have more losses than wins in his career :)

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Im nervous about this one. I think we SHOULD win, but as some posters pointed out, the Browns have a natural tendency to break our hearts in the opener against, well, just about anyone. There also might be something to be said about the fact that the Bengals are getting laughed at by every media outlet in America. I dont think they’re good by any means, but the ineptitude of their front office down there is a 90% off-season issue. Once the season starts, its about the game. Cincy could be playing to prove something and with a little early momentum, this could cause problems.

    As TD pointed out, so much more is riding on this game than just one W. This is a momentum game. This will either get the fans behind this team, or it will incite some serious backlash. If you are a believer that this team can make the playoffs, this is a MUST win. Couldnt agree with you more TD on the season-long ramifications of winning this one.

  • Bengal Fan

    I’ll look forward to your Sunday night’s posts blaming the Browns for the loss vs. giving credit to the Bengals for their win!

  • http://dawgsbreath.podbean.com/ Dawg’s Breath

    I hope we really get to Dalton on Sunday. The new 4-3 should keep Benson in in check. We need to get some points early. GO BROWNS!

  • Kildawg

    The Browns win if we RUN THE FOOTBALL and stop the other team from doing so. That and not turning the ball over does wonders. The Bungles had their QB quit on them and their two best WR/sideshows bail. We have the Madden 12 cover boy.

  • EdgewaterJoe

    I’m a little surprised to even see Browns fans describe our OL as somehow ‘shaky.’ Sure, Steinbach is out – but the only game you really noticed it was against Philly, and THAT’S a Top Five defensive team. The Browns’ OL looked solid, and I thought it was really interesting that Shurmer decided not to run the ball very much at all. I think all the backs will be solid and fresh and ready to roll.

    As for the Bengals’ DBs, I don’t think that’ll matter as much as Bengals fans hope for. The Browns WR corps may be green, but the TE brigade may damn well be one of the deepest in the league — and let’s not forget Hillis can catch the ball from the backfield as well. I can see a lot of 5-15 yard patters to Watson, Moore, and company and marching downfield (maybe with some no-huddle) to soften up the gut of the Bengals’ D for Hillis to blast into the end zone.

    And as for the Bengals on offense, a rookie middle-round QB is a rookie middle-round QB (and not one with the pedigree McCoy had from last year), their OL is also a bit of a mess, and I agree that Benson is on the downside of his career (albeit playing in the first game of the year will make him as good as he’ll get). The Browns do have their 700 pounds of ass in the middle of the DL, and they should have at least three people trying to slow them down, so unless Benson can run wide and test the LBs (definitely the soft underbelly of the Browns’ defense), he isn’t going to go too far without some injuries or turnovers, leaving Dalton to be a sitting duck. Hopefully.

    The Bengals’ offseason has been typical chaos, from the holdout of Carson Palmer to the prison time of Cedric Benson. In the meantime, the word that pops up in my head in looking at how Shurmur and the new staff has conducted their business is “professional” — no fuss, no muss, no drama, just do the work and get ready. More than anything else (besides the apparent development of McCoy), that’s what gives me confidence.

    I, too, will be royally pissed if the Browns lose this game. They should win, and they should win by double digits. But being a Browns fan, I will continue to ask, “… but will they?” until they actually do.

  • -bobby-

    Would it surprise anyone to see a 52-45 slug fest again (like in 07)? Thats how unpredictable both teams are this year.