Week 2: Cleveland Browns At Cincinnati Bengals
- QuarterbackThis figures to be a long year for rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, and his first game against the Eagles was disastrous. Weeden was 12-of-35 for 118 yards and threw four interceptions. It will probably get worse – or remain as bad – before it gets better.The Bengals ran into a Baltimore buzz saw in the opener, but Andy Dalton is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. He throws with velocity and accuracy and he may take his frustrations out against the Browns.
- OffenseThe Browns were hoping to unleash powerful rookie running back Trent Richardson against the Eagles, but he gained just 39 yards on 19 carries. The Browns may have the weakest group of receivers in the league, but head coach Pat Shurmur has a decent crew on the offensive line.The Bengals made a major upgrade at the running back position when they cast aside lazy Cedric Benson and picked up former Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis had 91 yards running into the teeth of the Raven defense. Wideout A.J. Green is one of the top big-play threats in the league.
- DefenseThe Browns have a solid defensive team and they are led by middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson who had 158 tackles a year ago. Strong safety T.J. Ward is a playmaker who had eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble against the Eagles.The Bengals got torched by the Ravens in the opener, but don’t write off this team or this defense just yet. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins can shut down the run with fellow defensive tackle Domata Peko. Atkins had two sacks against the Ravens.
- Special TeamsThe Browns have one of the most underrated kickers in Phil Dawson. He started the season by making all three of his FG attempts against the Eagles. Joshua Cribbs is as good as kickoff returner in the NFL.The Bengals are decent in special teams play, but they don’t have a standout return man. Placekicker Mike Nugent made 33-of-38 field goals last year and was perfect in two attempts against the Ravens.
The Bengals have too much firepower for the Browns. After getting hammered by a powerful Baltimore team, look for the Bengals to take it out on Cleveland. The Browns will fight hard, but by the second half they won’t be able to stop Dalton and the Cincinnati passing game.