Preview: Bengals vs. Browns

There are sexy games and then there is this.  Browns.  Bengals.  It’s the Crapper Bowl, Baby!

The Browns and Bengals are the running models for NFL futility.  Neither has enjoyed a resemblance of prolonged success in ages and based on what we’ve seen on the field this year, it seems more and more likely that we’re going to be waiting a good while longer for things to change.  As long as the Ravens and Steelers are asserting their dominance in the AFC North, it’s going to be tough for the Browns and Bengals to break through and have sustained success.

Coming into today’s game, the Browns are 5-8 and are coming off a terrible loss in Buffalo last week.  The Bengals are even worse.  They come into the showdown with the Browns at 2-11 and also sporting a 10 game losing streak.  That’s not good.  Not good at all.  It almost makes me feel bad for Cincy, but then again this is football, so oh well.

The biggest problem has been the dramatic drop off in the performance of Bengals QB Carson Palmer.  Truth of the matter is Palmer hasn’t been right since blowing out his knee a few years ago.  This year he has raised the bar for craptastic performances.  It’s possible he’s thrown more completions and touchdown’s to opponents than wide receivers.  Thanks to that, this is a game where the Browns defensive back field can really assert itself and show what we can look forward to in the future.

Given Palmer’s problems, Terrell Owens has been the exact opposite.  When Palmer is completing passes it’s more than likely to Owens.  He’s putting up Pro-Bowl numbers again and if the Browns can’t contain him than it could be a long afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Browns look to be getting back to the future today as Colt McCoy will start for the first time in four weeks.  Thank. God.  Hopefully all goes well for McCoy, because quite frankly I cannot stand to watch another minute of the Jake Delhomme era.  McCoy was exciting.  Delhomme was infuriating.  The Browns offense will look to get back into rhythm and the struggling Bengals could be just what the doctor ordered so long as Jake Delhomme doesn’t set foot on the field.

What to Look for:

  1. Can Colt McCoy play at the same level that he was prior to being injured?  Mobility will be a concern due to the high ankle sprain he suffered, but as long as he plays it smart in the pocket and the Browns dial up Peyton Hillis he should be fine.
  2. Can Carson Palmer continue to raise the bar for crap performances by a Pro-Bowl QB?  He’s been pretty bad and the Browns D of late has been pretty good.  I like the Browns chances in that match up.
  3. Will the offense resemble what we saw against New Orleans and New England, or will it be more of the bland basics we’ve seen over the past few weeks?
  4. Chances are the weather will not cooperate.  Can the offense, and more specifically Peyton Hillis, hold on to the ball this week?  Fumbling has been an issue whenever the weather turns bad.
  5. Will the Browns once again play down to their opponent, or will they pounce all over a team that’s just looking to end the season without anyone dying?

 

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