The game also offers a perfect chance for the Browns to give a few players some room to breathe if head coach Kevin Stefanski decides to adopt an offensive gameplan that leans heavily on the run.
It is what the Browns did in Week 2 when the two teams met, as Cleveland rolled up 215 rushing yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry to take down the Bengals. Even though the Browns are still without running back Nick Chubb, who is on injured reserve with a knee injury, the strategy should still be the same when the two teams meet at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Bengals come into the game giving up an average of 142.3 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry this season, and are 0-4-1 when allowing more than 125 rushing yards, according to clevelandbrowns.com.
The Browns counter with the league’s top rushing attack with 1,017 yards, are averaging 5.2 yards per carry (third best in the league) and eight rushing touchdowns (tied for third best in the league).
Cleveland also has wide receiver Jarvis Landry nursing a broken rib, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. battling turf toe, will be without tight end Austin Hooper after his surgery on Friday for appendicitis, and quarterback Baker Mayfield is still dealing with soreness to his right side.
There may not be another game on the schedule this season that would signal a call for a heavy doses of Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson then this one.
It may not be a conventional strategy in today’s NFL, but it could be one to help the Browns get back on their winning ways.