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TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 2: Cleveland Browns At Cincinnati Bengals

Browns
Bengals
Cleveland Browns v Green Bay Packers
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Quarterback
This figures to be a long year for rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, and his first game against the Eagles was disastrous. Weeden was 12-of-35 for 118 yards and threw four interceptions. It will probably get worse – or remain as bad – before it gets better.
Winner The Bengals ran into a Baltimore buzz saw in the opener, but Andy Dalton is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. He throws with velocity and accuracy and he may take his frustrations out against the Browns.
Offense
The Browns were hoping to unleash powerful rookie running back Trent Richardson against the Eagles, but he gained just 39 yards on 19 carries. The Browns may have the weakest group of receivers in the league, but head coach Pat Shurmur has a decent crew on the offensive line.
Winner The Bengals made a major upgrade at the running back position when they cast aside lazy Cedric Benson and picked up former Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis had 91 yards running into the teeth of the Raven defense. Wideout A.J. Green is one of the top big-play threats in the league.
Defense
Winner The Browns have a solid defensive team and they are led by middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson who had 158 tackles a year ago. Strong safety T.J. Ward is a playmaker who had eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble against the Eagles.
The Bengals got torched by the Ravens in the opener, but don’t write off this team or this defense just yet. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins can shut down the run with fellow defensive tackle Domata Peko. Atkins had two sacks against the Ravens.
Special Teams
Winner The Browns have one of the most underrated kickers in Phil Dawson. He started the season by making all three of his FG attempts against the Eagles. Joshua Cribbs is as good as kickoff returner in the NFL.
The Bengals are decent in special teams play, but they don’t have a standout return man. Placekicker Mike Nugent made 33-of-38 field goals last year and was perfect in two attempts against the Ravens.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Cleveland Browns v Green Bay Packers Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have too much firepower for the Browns. After getting hammered by a powerful Baltimore team, look for the Bengals to take it out on Cleveland. The Browns will fight hard, but by the second half they won’t be able to stop Dalton and the Cincinnati passing game.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

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  3. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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