The Cleveland Browns will look for their first win of the season on Sunday when they host the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC North game. We caught up with Stripe Hype to talk about the contest.
The Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in the return leg of the Ohio derby.
The Browns are coming off their bye week and remain the only team in the NFL without a victory. The Bengals, meanwhile, broke a four-game winless streak last week by laying a beating on the Philadelphia Eagles and presumptive Hall of Fame quarterback Carson Wentz.
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It has been more than two years since the Browns defeated the Bengals, and in their past four meetings the Browns have been outscored 129-30.
Question: The Bengals have struggled since their last meeting with the Browns – three losses and a tie before finally putting up a nice performance against the Eagles last week. (Thank you!) What seems to be the problem?
Matthew: They have an offensive coordinator who has been terrible at making in-game adjustments, as Ken Zampese will continue with a failed offensive game plan even if it never works. Head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton have also never been great at clock management, as well as timeout management.
On the bright side, the defense has come to life in the second half of the season and been a huge plus to keep the Bengals in every game since the bye week.
Dec 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis looks on from the sidelines in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 32-14. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Question: Are we at the beginning of the final weeks of the Marvin Lewis era in Cincinnati?
Matthew: No, I think it would be a shock to see anybody else on the sideline in 2017, unless Lewis quits. He has one more year on his contract and that may be all he has left in Cincinnati. Fans have lost faith in this coaching unit, but Mike Brown has had too much loyalty to everyone in this organization for too long.
Lewis will not get an extension for 2018, but we most likely will see him in 2017 in the Bengals locker room and sideline.
Question: A.J. Green has made quite a career against the Browns – 52 receptions, 824 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games — but has missed the past two games with an injury. What are the chances he’ll be back on Sunday?
Matthew: A.J. Green has missed this week’s practice with his teammates but has done work on his own. Although he is getting closer and could be ready for Houston or Pittsburgh, he will definitely miss Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
He desperately wants that 1,000-yard season to join Randy Moss as the only two receivers in NFL history with 1,000 yards in their first six seasons, so he should be back on the field this season.
Question: The Browns are going back to Robert Griffin III as the starting quarterback on Sunday. Is there anything he can do to make the Bengals defense sweat?
Matthew: The Bengals are not the best against the dual threat quarterbacks, but RGIII has been far from that for years. He must escape the pocket and throw effectively as well as make plays with his feet. If he can do that, the Bengals defense will have difficulty reading plays and cause more mistakes in the secondary.
Matthew: The Cincinnati Bengals should win this game. It could be really, really close or a huge blowout. I am going with a huge blowout though, with the Bengals coming off a huge week and wanting to carry that forward. Bengals win 35-10.