Sunday, November 17, 2013
Welcome to Cincinnati for Browns-Bengals
By Coley Harvey
CINCINNATI -- Welcome to wet, rainy Paul Brown Stadium, where the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals are preparing for a key AFC North clash.
The Browns come into the contest fresh off their bye, and two weeks after knocking off the Ravens in a 24-18 win at home. That victory, coupled with a Bengals loss at Baltimore last week, put the Browns firmly in the division race. What once appeared to be a one-team division has suddenly become a three-team push for first. The Ravens and Browns come into the weekend with the same overall record, and just 1.5 games out of first place.
With a win Sunday, the Bengals, could push their lead over the Browns, at least, to 2.5 games as they enter their bye.
As you get ready for the day's game, here are a few items to be aware of:
Kickoff/TV: 1 p.m. ET/CBS
Weather: 65 degrees. Winds: Gusts up to 16 mph during the game; up to 21 mph by 4 p.m.
Record: Browns (4-5); Bengals (6-4)
Series history: Cincinnati enters the 81st installment of the "Battle of Ohio" with a 42-38 series lead. After dropping seven of the previous eight, the Browns have won two straight games against the Bengals, including the teams' Week 4 showdown in Cleveland. With backup-turned-starter Brian Hoyer filling in for an injured Brandon Weeden, the Browns rolled to a 17-6 win in that game. The Bengals' offense only mustered 266 yards of total offense against a physical Browns defense.
Worth noting: The Bengals and Browns enter Sunday's game with the fourth- and fifth-ranked defenses, respectively. Combined, the teams have allowed just one 300-yard passer this season. With unfavorable weather conditions, and the pairing of the two defenses, it's unlikely that either quarterback will reach that mark in this game. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has gone beyond the 300-yard mark four times in the past five games.
Just before pregame warmups officially began, Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (doutbful/knee) came out and started going through some conditioning drills. It appeared the Bengals were just testing him out, putting him through ladder and other agility drills. Maualuga hasn't played since the Bengals' 49-9 win against the Jets four weeks ago, in Cincinnati's previous home game. During that game, he suffered an MCL sprain and a concussion. His replacement, fourth-year linebacker Vincent Rey, has 18 tackles, three sacks and an interception in the two games he's played in relief. Maualuga practiced Friday in a limited capacity for the first time since suffering his injury.
Browns Friday Injury Report
OUT: TE MarQueis Gray (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: OL Jason Pinkston (ankle)
PROBABLE: QB Jason Campbell (ribs), RB Willis McGahee (knee), LB Paul Kruger (finger), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (ribs), CB Christopher Owens (finger)
Bengals Friday Injury Report
OUT: DT Devon Still (elbow), OG Kevin Zeitler (foot)
DOUBTFUL: CB Chris Crocker (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: LB James Harrison (calf)
PROBABLE: LB Michael Boley (hamstring), LB Vontaze Burfict (knee), C Kyle Cook (shoulder), TE Jermaine Gresham (groin), CB Terence Newman (ankle), DT Brandon Thompson (ankle)