The 2-6 Cleveland Browns travel to Cincinnati to take on the 7-0 Bengals in this week’s Thursday night matchup. The Bengals remained unbeaten with an impressive 16-10 win over the Steelers while the Browns added injury to insult as they blew a 20-10 halftime lead and had 3 starters leave the game with injuries in their 34-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Browns were shut out in the second half and Quarterback Josh Mccown suffered a rib injury and Cornerback Joe Haden and Safety Donte Whitner suffered concussions in the 3rd quarter. Haden and Whitners status are uncertain and it has been announced that Johnny Manziel will be starting for MCcown.
Cincinnati beat the Steelers on the strength of their defense as their offense was only able score 6 points through the first 3 quarters. They were able to intercept Ben Roethlisberger twice in the 4th quarter which both lead to scores. The Steelers scored a touchdown on their very first possession but were only able to score 3 points the rest of the game against the Bengals defense. They also had 3 sacks and 5 tackles for a loss. Offensively they struggled as Andy Dalton only threw 1 touchdown but threw 2 second half interceptions and they also had a field goal blocked. Wide receiver A.J. Green had a big day as he caught 11 passes for 118 yards and the only touchdown. They were only able to rush for 78 yards led Jeremy Hill who had 60 yards on 15 carries.
The Browns actually had a 20-10 halftime lead but gave up 24 unanswered points in the second half leading to their third loss in a row. Defensively, they couldn’t stop Arizona as they gave up over 490 yards of offense and allowed Carson Palmer to throw for 374 yards and 4 touchdowns. Receivers Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald both had over 80 receiving yards and a touchdown. Running back Chris also had a good day as he racked up 108 rushing yards. Ironically, they also caused 4 turnovers but couldn’t capitalize on any of them. Offensively, they couldn’t rush the ball at all as they only gained 39 yards on 20 carries. Josh Mccown was having a good game before going down with the injury as he was 18-34 for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Browns have struggled defensively and with the running game all season. Offensively, they are ranked second to last with only 3.5 yards per carry and defensively, they are ranked 30th by allowing over 405 yards per game. The Bengals ranked 6th in league with 394 yards per game which poses huge problems for the Browns defense especially if Haden and Whitner aren’t active. The Bengals are finding different ways to win while the Browns are finding different ways to lose and several key players are injured. The Bengals are 6-0-1 against the spread this year and should be able to beat a depleted Browns lineup at home by double figures.
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