The Cincinnati Bengals will host the Cleveland Browns this Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Kickoff is at 1 pm. est and will be televised on CBS. The Bengals are 2-4 and though this is not a must win it is incredibly important for them to get a victory against a winless Browns team. Cincinnati is a 10 point favorite and should be able handle the Browns in the friendly confines of Paul Brown Stadium. That being said, despite their record, the Browns have been close in about every game. Here are four keys to the game for the Bengals to guarantee a victory.
1. The offense ends it’s red zone struggles. The Bengals have been consistently able to move the ball this year. The offense ranks 11th in total yards per game and fifth in passing but 28th in scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The Browns defense ranks at the bottom of the league in about every defensive statistical category. This will be a good chance for the Bengals to capitalize in the red zone and build momentum going forward.
2. The defense is able to stop the Browns run game. The Browns have been successful running this year ranking 11th in the league with 110.7 yards per game. The Cincinnati defense has allowed 108.2 rush yards per game which ranks them 20th in the league. After a hot start Isaiah Crowell has struggled his last two games but if he gets the run game going it will take pressure off of the Browns quarterback Cody Kessler. If the Browns can run the ball and control the time of the possession keeping Andy Dalton off the field it will be detrimental to the Bengals.
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3.Cincinnati wins the turnover battle. The Bengals are +2 in turnovers and this will need to continue for the Bengals to win Sunday. The Bengals are a more talented team than the Browns and Cincinnati should win. That being said, if a winless team gets turnovers and easy scores they can get a victory on the road.
4. Offensive coordinator Ken Zampese isn’t out coached by Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson. Jackson is in his first year as the Browns head coach after leaving his position as the offensive coordinator of the Bengals. There has certainly been a downgrade since Zampese took over. Jackson was a fiery coach that lead the Bengals to the seventh ranked team in points last year. Jackson help built the offense and it will be interesting to see if Zampese develops a game plan that will surprise Jackson.
Cincinnati should have no problem against the Browns but if any of these keys don’t go the team’s way it could be a long afternoon.