Sundays Browns vs. Bengals game has playoff implications. That’s really exciting for Cleveland, who hasn’t played in an important game in the month of November since 2007.
So with this much importance attached to it, I wanted to see if there were any indications in the statistics that could lead one to think the outcome might go one way or the other. I went straight to the quarterback ratings for Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell. With the importance that the quarterback has in this league, it seemed like a natural to examine these stats.
More so, these two teams seem to rise and fall with the play of their respective quarterbacks. For the Browns, we’ve seen how good, competent play at QB makes a difference. When Brandon Weeden started the team went 0-4. With either Brian Hoyer or Jason Campbell starting a game, the Browns are 4-1. Quarterbacks make a difference.
The same is true in Cincinnati. The stats show that when the Bengals win, Dalton has a good day: an average QB Rating of 107.5. When they lose, though, it correlates with Dalton receiving an average QB rating of 63.1.
So, when Dalton is hot, the Bengals win. When he’s not, they lose. So far this month, he’s not performing well. His QB rating for the month of November is 52.3.
Compare that with Campbell who is playing very well so far. His QB rating for November is 116.6. Campbell is also performing better against division opponents, earning a 107.6, compared to Dalton’s 63.7.
Some might argue that Dalton has the edge playing at home, and he performs better there. His QB rating at Paul Brown Stadium is 100.5. Jason Campbell, is quite competent in away games. His QB rating outside of Cleveland is 97.8, making him almost even with Dalton playing at home.
Another interesting stat about Dalton is that he plays better indoors. His QB rating outside is 81.9, lower than when he plays in a dome, 135.9.
Campbell seems to like the great outdoors, though. His QB rating outside is 106.6.
Finally, I wanted to see how these two quarterbacks perform when they play from behind, when there’s some pressure on them to catch an opponent. Dalton in this situation has a rating of 80.3, while Campbell’s play from behind has earned him a 97.8 rating.
The last time these two teams met in week four in Cleveland, Dalton threw for only 206 yards, his lowest this season, and had no touchdowns. Campbell didn’t play in that game, but last week he threw for three touchdowns and 262 yards.
The stats seem to suggest that these two quarterbacks are nearly even for Sunday’s game, but I have to give the edge to Campbell. Overall, he’s just played better than Dalton in the last two weeks.
Campbell performs well outdoors, and at opponent’s stadiums, so the fact that this game is in Cincinnati will not have an impact on him. If the Bengals somehow get ahead early, Campbell’s QB ratings show he has a better chance to overcome it, than if the situation gets reversed. While the Bengals have more weapons offensively, Andy Dalton has to play better than he has in the last two weeks for Cincinnati to get a win.
This confident Browns team needs to continue to play as they have, using all their aerial weapons on offense and shutting down the run on defense. If the Cleveland “D” plays as they did in week 4, Dalton will have a difficult day.