With Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reportedly set to miss four to six weeks, there's an opening in the AFC North for the Cincinnati Bengals. But they have to start winning some games. Luckily for them, they're playing the winless Cleveland Browns Sunday. It's quite the change of pace after taking on the high-powered New England Patriots.
The Bengals may miss Hue Jackson's offensive mind -- they're ranked 25th in points scored -- but it isn't doing the Browns much good. Cleveland currently has the 19th-ranked offense in the league and is playing with a third-string rookie quarterback. Robert Griffin III was placed on IR early last month and veteran backup Josh McCown is out of action with an injury, too. Cody Kessler has actually played pretty well, with a 93.8 QB rating in four games, but he's been sacked 10 times. It's difficult to develop a rhythm offensively when you're constantly trying to evade pass rushers.
Terrelle Pryor is the Browns' best receiving option, as he's blossomed into a full-blown wideout. He leads the team in targets (58), catches (33), yards (413), and touchdowns (three). Oh, he's rushed for a touchdown and thrown nine passes as well. Pryor's been dealing with a hamstring injury, but Jackson expects him to play Sunday.
But even if the Browns can put some points on the board, they probably won't be able to get past the Bengals. Statistically, Andy Dalton is having a fine season, and Cincinnati is the sixth-ranked passing offense in the league. But the Bengals are only 25th in the league in points scored, so Dalton has had trouble converting those gaudy numbers into points.
With linebacker Vontaze Burfict on the field –– he was only fined, not suspended, for stomping on Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount last week –– the Bengals will likely rely on a ferocious pass rush to make Kessler uncomfortable. Then they'll hope the offense can capitalize.
Most experts think the Bengals will do just that against their intrastate rival. All seven of ESPN's prognosticators who have submitted predictions think the Bengals will be victorious, while seven of CBS's eight analysts agree. Nine of our 10 experts at SB Nation also think the Bengals will win.
|Game||RVB||Stephen White||Thomas George||Jeanna Thomas||Adam Stites||Tyler Tynes||Louis Bien||Joel Thorman||Fooch||OddsShark computer|
|CLE vs CIN||CLE||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN|