Which Cleveland and Cincinnati teams will we see on the field on Sunday?
Will it be the Cincinnati team led by the Andy Dalton who lit up the NFL and won Octobers AFC Offensive player of the month? Or will it be the Dalton we have seen the last two weeks, in games against Miami and Baltimore where he has looked erratic and like the player the has great moments followed by ones he would rather forget.
Will we see the Cleveland Browns team that looks like it wants to compete in the AFC for a playoff berth, but comes up short at times and is search for it identity? Or will we see a team that is ready to step forward with a strong defense and prove it is better than teams of yesteryear under head coach Rob Chudzinski, who has made believers out of the Dawg Pound?
Either way, this could be a sign of what will come out of the AFC North, a preview to a playoff berth and a warning to NFL fans that Cincinnati may be the cream of the crop in this division, but a young and hungry Browns team will be nipping at their heels, if not this season, then certainly in seasons to come.
Here are three bold predictions for Sunday’s game.
McGahee will have a huge game
Willis McGahee has been the running game for Cleveland this season. Since trading Trent Richardson to Indianapolis the aging runner has been the lead runner in the Browns rushing attack. That has yielded yards on 100 carries with 1 TD.
I expect him to get a good amount of carries this week, but the Browns have looked to other options.
Browns worked out running backs Kahlil Bell, Armond Smith and Armando Allen this week.
Dalton comes up huge
I think two weeks of uneasy play will finally get Dalton back on track. We want to see the guy who has some Joe Montana in him and a guy that can use his full set of weapons to his advantage.
If Dalton comes up huge, it is a good bet someone like AJ Green, Marvin Jones or even one of the tight ends – Jermaine Gresham or Tyler Eifert – have a major game. Cleveland’s secondary is young and getting better, but can they stop Cincinnati’s passing game which will also feature Giovani Bernard out of the backfield – should he play.
A Gators reunion
As the Florida Gators continue to struggle in the college game, two former players will have a huge impact on the outcome of this game.
I am talking about Reggie Nelson of the Bengals and Joe Haden of the Browns. Watch for each of them to have an interception and to make key plays in the secondary.
Both have been a big reason the Browns and Bengals defenses have been solid if not spectacular this season.