By Maximillian C. Burgos | Staff Writer
The Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns will both be looking for their first win of the season in this week 4 divisional matchup. The Bengals are coming off a week, where they almost beat the Green Bay Packers in an overtime game that would have surely boosted the confidence in a wavering locker-room but, sadly Aaron Rodgers showed why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Browns dropped another game to the Indianapolis Colts, which hurt them badly.
The Browns first round pick and first pick overall, defensive end Myles Garrett, finally practiced this week after spraining his ankle in his first practice on September 6th. Whether he plays on Sunday is still up in the air, but the Browns may play on the side of caution since he will be part of their future, but fellow defensive lineman Danny Shelton missed practice on Thursday with a calf issue, meaning he still may not play on Sunday.
The Browns had a rough go of things last week. The Colts desperately needed to pull off a win and the Browns in a stroke of bad luck dropped a close game where they almost came all the way back.
Part of the reason the Browns lost the close game was the turnovers on offense. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer continues to struggle to make good decisions and being decisive with his throws. He threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns, but his three interceptions hurt his team and their chances of winning.
With another three interceptions in a game, Kizer now has seven interceptions and three touchdowns on the season. If Kizer cannot maintain possession and manage the game better, the Browns may be in for another repeat of last even with all of the additions to their roster. Kizer cannot even blame pressure for his poor performance, because the Colts are not an aggressive group, only managing one sack the entire game.
In week two, the Browns turned to Kevin Hogan to try and change their fortunes in the game against the Baltimore Ravens, but Hogan did not do much better against the stout defense. He threw a touchdown but also threw a costly interception.
The Browns rushing attack will also need to get better for them to have any hope of winning against the Bengals. The Browns ball carriers combined for 261 yards on the ground for the season. Isaiah Crowell leads the pack with 114 yards with Kizer close behind with 87 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bengals scored their first touchdown last week against the Packers, a milestone that is sad to be accomplished in Week 3 of the football season. The Bengals are also having quarterback woes.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton looked abysmal in Week 1. Last week, he looked better, scoring two touchdowns through the air, but it was not enough to pull out the win.
Like the Browns, the Bengals rushing attack is also suffering this year. Rookie Joe Mixon leads the team with 107 yards on 35 attempts, but the despite the success last week, the Bengals still have not scored a rushing touchdown this year. The Bengals rank toward the bottom half of the NFL with their rushing attack.
One of the few bright spots on the team is star wide receiver A.J. Green, who had ten catches for 111 yards and a touchdown last week. He now has 20 receptions for 252 yards and a touchdown on the season. If Dalton can get the ball to Green, the Browns will definitely have their hands full.
Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is also one of the lone bright spots on defense, with three sacks on the season and 13 tackles in all. He has proven that he can still get after opposing quarterbacks, ripping straight through the center of offensive lines.
Both teams had played poorly this year. The Browns have scored more and have shown the ability to stick around in games this season, but have failed to finish games on the right side of the scoreboard. The Bengals have struggled offensively and dropped their only close game this season. Despite all that, according to the public polls and the expert polls on covers.com, the Bengals are heavy favorites in the game.
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