Friday, December 9, 2016

Browns Preview 12.9.16: Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

The 4-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals travel to Cleveland to take on the 0-12 Browns, who are coming off of a bye week. The Browns announced that Robert Griffin III will be the starter Sunday with rookie Cody Kessler has his backup. Griffin started week one against the Eagles and went 12/26 for 190 yards and one interception before suffering a fractured bone in his non-throwing shoulder which sidelined him until now. The Bengals are coming off of a 32-14 win against the Eagles were they picked off rookie Carson Wentz three times.

Browns Offense vs Bengals Defense

Its unknown what the Browns are going to feature offensively. Griffin will have some rust to start off, so the Browns will have to run the ball, even though its not usually their game plan. It doesn't matter whether its Isaiah Crowell or Duke Johnson getting the bulk of the carries, the Browns need to protect Griffin this week and the next three weeks if they want a realistic shot of winning a game this year. Duke Johnson should get the most touches this game considering he has the better yards per carry between the two and his a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield.

The passing game should be interesting to watch. Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman will be the main targets for Griffin which is expected, but considering the time off for Griffin his chemistry/timing could be off with his wideouts. Griffin needs to protect the ball and himself this game, so checking down, sliding when scrambling, and throwing the ball away will be extremely important.

Browns Defense vs Bengals Offense

Its unknown if AJ Green will play this week for the Bengals but whether or not he plays, the Browns main focus should be stopping the running game. Earlier this year, the Bengals ran for 271 yards on 30 attempts against the Browns and Jeremy Hill had 168 of those 271 yards. If the Browns don't stop the run game they have no chance this week.

Andy Dalton is prone to throw interceptions at times, hopefully the Browns can force him into a mistake and then capitalize on it. If AJ Green doesn't play, rookie Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell will start at receiver. Both have 40+ catches on the year and are solid targets for Dalton.

Five Guys to Watch

Robert Griffin III: Griffin is going to be someone to watch the next four games. There is still a small chance Griffin can win over the front office and coaching staff and become the quarterback for the future. If the Browns win one of these four games its going to be because of Griffin.

Christian Kirksey: Kirksey is one of the leaders on defense and has really grown this year. He's going to need to play extremely well in the run game for the Browns to stop the two headed monster (Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard). Kirksey will also be matched up against Tyler Eifert.

Johnathan Cooper: Cooper is a former first round pick who will be starting for the first time for the Browns. Cooper has a lot to prove but with Greco down for the year, he has an opportunity to prove he isn't a bust.

Corey Coleman: It will be interesting to see how he looks after a week off. Coleman seems to be growing and his play is improving. Also Hue Jackson said Coleman might be used as a punt returner too.

Joe Haden: Whether or not AJ Green plays, Haden will need to lock down who ever he's covering. Haden should have a really good game this week and maybe even an interception because the Browns need their defensive play makers to make some plays for them to get a win this week.

Injury Report
Betting Line: Cincinnati -5.5

Prediction: 28-17 Bengals

The Browns should play well this week but unfortunately fall to 0-13. Griffin should start out rusty but end the game playing fairly well. The Browns are going to win a game this season, but its not going to be this week.

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