Saturday, December 13, 2014

On The Mark 12.13.14: #Browns vs. #Bengals Preview

Johnny Starter.  Johnny Manziel Starts His First Game As A Cleveland Brown Sunday.
By @MarkW2112

The Cleveland Browns, who have been solid on defense but struggling mightily on offense, have turned to rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel to lead the Browns offense this Sunday against division and Ohio rival Cincinnati Bengals.  With only 3 games left in the season and the playoffs on the line, head coach Mike Pettine had no choice but to go with Johnny Football after 4 very rocky starts for Brian Hoyer, who threw 1 touchdown and 8 interceptions in the past few weeks.

The Browns, 7-6, are still in the thick of the playoff chase but their chances of making them remain slim if they lose Sunday with 3 games left.  The loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week was a huge letdown after the defense was sensational against Andrew Luck and their powerful offense.  This weekend, facing a division rival, look for the defense once again to step up against Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, who seems to have issues with all pro cornerback Joe Haden every time they meet.  Look for a lot of the same pressure and different looks the defense showed the Bengals the first time they faced back in November in Cincinnati.

As for the offense, at this point, it's an unknown what will happen.  Manziel, however, appears to be ready to go and do what he does best, which is making off the cuff plays using his feet to keep the defense off balance.  That said, look for a big game from both Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell as the Bengals concentrate on stopping Manziel.  Also expect Josh Gordon to have his best game since coming back during the Atlanta game.  There is no doubt Manziel will make mistakes but they will be exciting mistakes nonetheless.

My take: It's finally Johnny time.  We'll see if he lives up to the hype but if his touchdown series against Buffalo is any indication, I think he's more than ready to take over the Browns quarterback position.  I also expect the Bengals offense to look much better this time around than it did in Cincinnati.  It will be a tough match up to say the least.

Prediction:  It will be close.  It's a pick em game for sure.

What: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Where: First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Time: 1 PM
TV/Radio: Fox, WTAM 1100, WMMS 100.7 in Cleveland and The Browns Radio Network elsewhere in Ohio.

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