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Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Buckeye State representatives didn’t make a strong accounting of themselves in their respective season openers. After a week to stew over their less-than-aesthetically pleasing performances, the visiting Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals will attempt to right the ship on Sunday when they engage in the latest installment of the Battle of Ohio. A visit from the Browns could be just what Marvin Lewis’ club needs after it was embarrassed by Joe Flacco and AFC North rival Baltimore in a 44-13 drubbing on Monday night.
Cincinnati has taken three straight and 12 of 15 from Cleveland, but a porous defensive effort against the Ravens raised concerns after it yielded 430 total yards of offense. Cleveland’s offense, however, showed little continuity during last week’s 17-16 loss to Philadelphia as running back Trent Richardson (19 carries, 39 yards) and fellow rookie Brandon Weeden (12 of 35, 118 yards, four interceptions) struggled mightily in their NFL debuts.
ABOUT THE BROWNS (0-1): Linebacker Scott Fujita will make his season debut after an appeals panel vetoed his three-game league suspension for his role in the New Orleans bounty scandal. Fujita’s presence will help in stopping BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who rushed for 91 yards and converted a fourth-and-1 for a 6-yard touchdown in the season opener. While Fujita will return to the field, the Browns will lose CB Joe Haden as he begins to serve a four-game suspension for violating the league’s NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (0-1): Haden’s loss could be a significant boon for stud wideout A.J. Green, who reeled in five catches for 70 yards last week. Green ripped the Browns with a four-catch, 151-yard performance in the 2011 season opener at Cleveland. Green’s 41-yard touchdown reception served as the highlight. Quarterback Andy Dalton also fared well in two games versus the Browns last season, completing 31 of 46 passes for 351 yards and two scores.
1. While Cincinnati’s defense was torched on national television, Cleveland’s contingent was gashed for 456 yards by Philadelphia but almost pulled off an upset by intercepting four passes.
2. Browns CB Dimitri Patterson is expected to draw the primary assignment of covering Green – although Sheldon Brown and Trevin Wade will also be in the mix.
3. The Bengals have won 25 of the 39 meetings against the Browns in the Queen City.