Time: 1:00 pm, Sunday, November 29, 2009
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Network, Announcers: CBS- Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon.
Line: Bengals by thirteen-and-a-half.
Team W/L Records: Cleveland is 1-9; Cincinnati is 7-3.
Coaches: Eric Mangini is 24-34 overall, 1-9 with the Browns; Marvin Lewis is 53-52-1 in his seventh season with the Bengals.
Last Week for the Browns: Blew a 24-3 first-quarter lead and lost in Detroit, 38-37, on the final play of the game.
Last Week for the Bengals: Squandered an opportunity to take complete command of the AFC North in an ugly, 20-17 loss in Oakland. Cincinnati led virtually the entire game but gave it up with penalties and turnovers, including a fumble to set up the game-winning field goal for the Raiders.
All-Time Series: Bengals lead, 37-35.
Last Meeting- October 4: Cleveland played its first truly competitive game of the season but it wasn't enough as the Bengals prevailed in overtime, 23-20. Mohamed Massaquoi had a breakout game, snagging eight passes for 148 yards, while Jerome Harrison piled up 121 yards on the ground. The Browns fought back from an early 14-0 hole to take a 20-14 second-half lead but couldn't throw the knockout punch. Cincinnati tied it and eventually won at the end of overtime on a Shayne Graham field goal that may or may not have been good.
Out or Questionable for Cincinnati: RB Cedric Benson (hip), WR Laveraneus Coles (chest), DT Domata Peko (knee), LB Keith Rivers (calf) and CB Morgan Trent (knee) are questionable.
Out or Questionable for Cleveland: LB Blake Costanzo (shoulder), TE Greg Estandia (shoulder), G Rex Hadnot (knee), DT Shaun Rogers (ankle), TE Robert Royal (thigh) and RB Lawrence Vickers (hamstring) are questionable.
What to watch for the Bengals: Cincinnati has done a nice job of bouncing back from heartbreak this season. They reeled off four consecutive wins after their last-second opening-day loss to Denver and won three straight after being thumped at home by the Texans on October 18th. Now they'll need to bounce back again, after an inexcusable loss in Oakland. The rewards for a win over the Browns will be rich: a perfect 6-0 record within the division, a solidification of their lead in the AFC North and a nice segue into what should be a gimme against the Lions next week. The penalties for a loss will be great as well. Cincinnati needed to take advantage of a three-week cupcake stretch against the Raiders, Browns and Lions because when it's done they'll be on the road in consecutive weeks against the surging Vikings and Chargers. Losing one of those three easy games was bad; losing two would be catastrophic.
What to watch for the Browns: Sure enough, the Detroit defense provided a cure for the ill-stricken Cleveland offense. The Browns racked up 439 yards in last Sunday's defeat, including 304 yards and four touchdowns off the arm of Brady Quinn. Now the question becomes: can they keep it up? Cincinnati's defense has been very solid this season, especially at the corners, and they've done a nice job putting pressure on quarterbacks as well- see their virtuoso performance in Pittsburgh two weeks ago. Quinn and Co. will answer the question of whether Cleveland's performance against Detroit was the beginning of a trend... or a mirage. (I tend to think it was the latter.)
Good Past Win over the Bengals- November 23, 1980: Cleveland spotted the Bengals an early 7-0 lead then shelled them with 31 unanswered points in one of the very few lopsided victories for the Kardiac Kid. Brian Sipe threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns for the Browns, who were out-gained 397-332 but benefited from three Cincinnati turnovers.
Bad Past Loss to the Bengals- October 3, 1976: Cleveland-killer Isaac Curtis caught two touchdown passes and Lenvil Elliott added two more as the Bengals cruised to victory over the Browns, 45-24. Trailing 31-10 in the first half, the Browns rallied to within a touchdown at the end of the third period, but a pair of fourth-quarter scores by Cincinnati put the game out of reach.
Next Week for Both Teams: Cincinnati hosts Detroit; the Browns host San Diego.
Trivia: A win would give the Bengals an undefeated record within their division for the first time in franchise history.