With about a week behind us since the Bengals nearly beat the defending Superbowl champion New York Giants, we must consider what is to come tomorrow. There has been a lot of talk around the league about the Browns and Bengals, none of which has been good. In fact, last week ESPN did a segment begging Ohio sports to improve for their fans. It's a tough life, but at least we can't be accused of being fair weather supporters. Keeping in mind our near victory last week, let's run down the game from a fantasy football perspective.
Carson Palmer - Palmer should have an effective day here. The Browns have been giving up points all over the field, both rushing and passing. As long as the offensive line stays relatively intact, look for the aerial attack to emerge. After seeing how the running game faired in over-time last week, I would also expect this to increase the passing game. Look for Carson to throw early, and then open the running lanes later. 2 TDs, 250 yds, INT
T.J. Houshmanzadeh - Housh should have himself another solid day. Coverages are still following Chad Johnson around like love-sick puppies. Still, I wouldn't expect him to be as effective as last week for the simple fact that the Browns will have seen that game and realize that they need to be more careful than the Giants. This will open up the game for Antonio Chatman who will probably end the game with one of Carson's passing TDs. TJ on the other hand 80 yds, 1 TD.
Chad Johnson - Chad will be closed off this game. I wouldn't expect this to be the time that he breaks out. I would wait until the Jets game for that to happen. Still, he will be more effective than last week for the mere fact that the Browns are not remotely as good as the Giants. 60 Yds.
Chris Perry - If Carson Palmer and the Offensive line can get the passing game going early in the game, look for Chris Perry to find some holes in the second half. If the Bengals are down on the other hand, I would expect the passing to continue and Perry won't get much work. Still, the Browns aren't playing their best football, and we could see Perry break off some large chunks of yardage. 80 yds rushing, 20 yds receiving, 1 TD.
Bengals Defense - This is a great match-up for the defense of the Bengals. Look for Leon Hall to get at least one pick off Derek Anderson. The guy is trying to save his job and I just don't see him being able to play through all the pressure. Brady Quinn should be in the game by half-time and if not, maybe Hall will get another interception. Hopefully Jonathan Joseph will return to the secondary, making the Browns passing game that much less effective. These two could really spell trouble for opposing passing attacks for the remainder of the season. The big question for the day will be how well we defend against Jamal Lewis. Although Lewis has been fairly quiet this season, I would expect him to have a good game against the Bengals over-all. Keith Rivers and the rest of the defensive line have had their hands full but they will improve as the season continues. The good thing about youth is that they learn quickly and back it up with strong play.
The Bengals will win this game decisively due to the lack of leadership on the Browns offense. Plus, the Bengals have confidence in the fact that they almost took down the Giants last week. The Browns on the other hand have no momentum going into this game.
Bengals 27, Browns 14