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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns - Official Game Thread

Whether or not we agree with Eric Mangini's decision to pull Brady Quinn for Derek Anderson, I think the change has provided some more anticipation for today's contest against the Cincinnati Bengals. Based on how the Browns have played the past three weeks, the change shouldn't mean a thing. Stranger things have happened though -- two years ago, the Browns looked like one of the worst teams in football in Week 1 under Charlie Frye, and then looked like a completely different team under Anderson. Can history repeat itself?

Date: October 4, 2009 Location: Cleveland, OH
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Stadium: Browns Stadium
Favorite: Bengals by 6½
Radio: WTAM, 1100 AM Over/Under: 38
SBN Coverage: Cincy Jungle Announcers Ian Eagle,
Rich Gannon

If the Cleveland Browns are able to pull off the upset tonight, then all eyes should be on tonight's Chargers vs. Steelers game. A Browns victory and a Steelers loss would mean that the Browns would be ahead of the Steelers in the standings (according to tiebreaker rules). It's not something to gloat about, but it'd be a small victory at this point.

Let's start off this week's preview with the overall team statistics heading into Week 4...


Category Bengals Browns
Points Scored 20.3 (15th) 9.7 (31st)
Passing 187.3 (22nd) 146.7 (31st)
Rushing 112.3 (14th) 71.3 (29th)
Total Offense (yards) 299.7 (24th) 218.0 (32nd)


Category Bengals Browns
Points Scored 18.7 (13th) 31.7 (32nd)
Passing 240.0 (19th) 228.3 (16th)
Rushing 88.7 (11th) 184.3 (30th)
Total Defense (yards) 328.7 (16th) 412.7 (30th)

Carson Palmer hasn't been great this season, as he has received a lot of help from his supporting cast. He showed impressive poise late last week against the Steelers though.
- QB I don't think we'll be seeing Brady Quinn back in action for awhile. Derek Anderson has had big games before, and we're really in need of one right about now.
Cedric Benson tore the Browns apart last year, and he's been one of the league's most consistent running backs through the first three weeks.
- RB Jerome Harrison will likely get the start after Jason Davis was placed on the injured reserve.
Chad Ochocinco's team attitude has improved this year. While the team missed T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Andre Caldwell has stepped in well as the No. 2.
- WR Braylon Edwards will be targeted early and often this week with Anderson under center. I also expect Mohamed Massaquoi to finally get some looks.
The Bengals' offensive line was criticized before the season started but have exceeded expectations. The line has excelled in the running game, but still remains behind in pass protection.
OL - Despite the fact that our offense has struggled, we've actually shown some potential on the ground against the Vikings and Ravens, two of the league's best run defenses. The "even" rank might be generous here.
Joe Thomas will have his hands full with the red-hot Antwan Odom this week. Odom should line up against Thomas on first and second downs. - DL Could there be some changes on the Browns' defensive line? The ABJ mentions the possibility of Shaun Rogers seeing action at DE.
The Bengals have rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga and second-year man Keith Rivers. The Browns have Eric Barton and David Bowens. Why do other teams play their youth while the Browns always grab the "veterans?"
- LB The unit has been a big disappointment thus far. After improved tackling in the preseason, we've started to miss tackles leading to too many big plays. Alex Hall should be receiving more playing time.
The Bengals' experience exceeds that of the Browns at this point. Former Brown Chris Crocker is a starting safety for the Bengals. Leon Hall should be matched up against Edwards.
DB Brandon McDonald has been "benched". Will it be for a longer period of time than Crennel's benching last season? We shall see. Word is that Mike Adams will fill in for McDonald.
Quan Cosby has had some energy on punt returns, and Shayne Graham is a reliable kicker.
ST - Joshua Cribbs hasn't had a good return the past two weeks. He doesn't need to take it to the house every time, but he's barely getting past the thirty.

I'm optimistic this week with Derek Anderson under center that he can re-live the magic he brought in 2007 when he took over for Charlie Frye. However, the Browns have been so abysmal the past three weeks, while the Bengals have beaten a 2-1 Packers team, the Steelers, and barely lost to an 3-0 Broncos team. If I take the Browns, I'd be taking them on hope alone, which is something I cannot do. Bengals win 24-21 after a late Palmer touchdown again.

FINAL PREDICTION: Cincinnati Bengals 24, Cleveland Browns 21.

This is the official gameday thread for the Cleveland Browns in Week 4 for the Battle of Ohio against the Cincinnati Bengals. All comments regarding the game should be posted in this topic. Enjoy the game, and GO BROWNS!!!