Browns vs. Bengals: DPD staff predictions

Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson talks with quarterback Andy Dalton (14), quarterback Keith Wenning (3) and quarterback AJ McCarron (5) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 25-11. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson talks with quarterback Andy Dalton (14), quarterback Keith Wenning (3) and quarterback AJ McCarron (5) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 25-11. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dawg Pound Daily Staff got together to share their predictions for today’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Will the Cleveland Browns finally shock the world and pick up a win?

That has been the main question surrounding the team in recent weeks, as the Browns currently sit with a record of 0-6, making them the sole winless team in the NFL.

Today’s latest attempt at a win will take place in Cincinnati, where a 2-4 Bengals team is looking for an easy win. But even with an 0-6 record, this Browns team has fought hard all season. Perhaps a surprise win is in store for the Browns?

To preview the game, our staff got together to share our predictions. The Browns received a little more love as the optimism for a win remains high.

Jonathan Goehring (2016 record: 4-2): Browns 27, Bengals 25

The Bengals enter their first meeting with the Browns losing two straight road games, dropping their record to 2-4. Clearly, they have a lot to prove this week as they return home hungry for a win. The Browns, who enter winless, come in as huge underdogs this week. While Cody Kessler is showing promise, the Browns have yet to prove that they can balance their offense by running the ball effectively and protecting the quarterback. However, Cincinnati has not been tearing it up offensively themselves, setting up what could be an ugly game on what should be a perfect day for football.

Due to combining factors including the lopsided nature of the two teams’ last three matchups and the current circumstances for Cincinnati, this is a legitimate trap game for the Bengals. For a team that is looking to get back in the playoff picture, the least of their concerns is a home game against a winless team. There is a good chance that the Bengals may be trying to win three games at once, so to speak.

This will lead to a sluggish start by the Bengals, whose offense has struggled mightily in the past few weeks. With less of a potent passing attack than in years past, Cincinnati will rely mostly on the ground game, which the Browns have stopped successfully the past two weeks. They have two major red zone targets in AJ Green and Tyler Eiffert who will undoubtedly have an impact, but if the Browns can prevent both of these players from having 150+ yard performances, Cincinnati will be in trouble.

Offensively, the Browns will continue to grow. This week though, they will finally find production from their rushing attack, even if it is minimal. This will lead to better balance offensively and a chance for Kessler to give his young group of receivers another opportunity to shine. Eventually, Gary Barnidge will also get going and have his best game of the season thus far.

Still, the game will be close in the end. The Browns will jump out to a 20-9 halftime lead, but will begin to give up large chunks in the passing game in the second half. Their lead will be cut to 20-19 at the end of the third, but Cleveland won’t go silently. A touchdown will make it 27-19, and while the Bengals will score with just seconds to go, their two point conversion attempt will be unsuccessful. Finally, a win.

Tom Moore (2016 record: 6-0): Bengals 31, Browns 10

A little more than two years ago, the Cleveland Browns walked off the field at Paul Brown Stadium in possession of one of the biggest wins in recent years.

The Browns embarrassed the Bengals on national TV and spent the ride up I-71 secure in the knowledge that with a record of 6-3 they were firmly in control of things.

Since that chilly night the Browns have gone on to lose 25 of their last 29 games, including an 0-6 start to this season. Among those losses are three against the Bengals in which the Browns were outscored 98-13.

The Browns enter the first Ohio derby of the season struggling in the secondary (welcome to your career day, A.J. Green) and along the offensive line, especially when Cameron Erving and Alvin Bailey are in the lineup. Today against the Bengals’ formidable defensive front both Erving and Bailey are starting, so hope those ribs are still intact by 4 p.m., Cody Kessler.

Cleveland is on pace to surrender a franchise-record number of points this season, and given their recent history against the Bengals they should easily stay on track today.

Roger Cohen (2016 record: 4-2): Bengals 38, Browns 10

If last week’s “who are we playing” Tennessee game was irrelevantly invisible, this Sunday’s game might not even register for giddy Cleveland sports fans. Given that the Tribe has already clinched a World Series berth, and the Indians will host World Series Game 1 at the exact same time and across the street as the Cavs hoist Cleveland’s first title banner in 52 years, it’s understandable that a winless Browns’ road game has gotten little attention.

My prediction? Stay in church, volunteer at a charity, winterize your home, spend quality time with your family, vote early, read a good book — do something rewarding and for someone else Sunday, because this one will be ugly.

A talented Bengals squad off a bad loss, AJ Green against a weak Browns secondary even with Joe Haden, a Bengals front seven against an interior Browns offensive line without Joel Bitonio but with Cam Erving,…see where this is going? Other than some kind of secret “Hue Jackson knows his old boss and team” sauce, I cannot identify a single remotely plausible reason why the Browns might even compete in this game.

Bengals score early and often and rack up 500+ yards with no sweat. Browns punt and/or fumble early and often, we see the Bengals backup QB (who is it?) early and maybe even a Kevin Hogan cameo for the Browns.

Joel Cade (2016 record: 5-1): Bengals 31, Browns 14

The Browns head to Cincinnati in the Battle of Ohio. The Bengals are struggling this season with a 2-4 record. They have spent most of the season minus key players like Vontaze Burfict and Tyler Eifert. The Bengals may have both this week against the Browns.

On offense the Browns need to find a way to stop Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Atkins against Alvin Bailey and Cameron Erving should have the Benglas feeling good about their chances. Dunlap can rush from the edge converting speed to power that gives Austin Pasztor fits. Unless Cody Kessler can get the ball out quickly, it will be a long day for the Browns.

On defense, the Browns need to put pressure on Andy Dalton. The Bengals offense has been slowed by the absence of Tyler Eifert. If Eifert returns, it could be a long day for the Browns who have trouble covering tight ends. The Browns defense could be without Joe Haden against who usually shuts down A.J. Green. Without Haden it could be another long day for the Browns.

Although I am picking the Bengals, the Browns have surprised the Bengals in Cincy before. The Browns will make it a game early but the Bengals will be too much in the end.

Steven Kubitza (2016 record: 3-3): Bengals 30, Browns 24

The Browns have been fighting hard all season, but it will not be enough for a win today. This seems to be the narrative each week, as effort can only go so far before it is trumped by pure talent.

The Bengals are 2-4, but are still a talented team. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will carve up this Browns secondary, while early stalling on offense will put the Browns in a hole that cannot be climbed out of.

This franchise has been known for pulling off surprising victories, but that was in years when the team was actually allegedly build to win. This rebuilding unit will give it their all, but it just won’t be enough for the seventh week in a row.

Matt Stevenson (2016 Record: 5-0): Bengals 33, Browns 16

The first inner-state battle between the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals takes place this Sunday. The Bengals and Browns currently reside at the bottom of the AFC North, the Bengals being a great disappointment. Hue Jackson looks to outcoach his good friend Marvin Lewis in his first meeting against his former team.

Jackson leaving has certainly has shown his worth as the Bengals offense looks to find their identity still posting a 2-4 record. However, with Terrelle Pryor listed as questionable and Joe Haden doubtful, Cleveland finds itself without its biggest playmakers on both sides of the ball. A.J. Green and Joe Haden matchups have been a sight to see so it’s disappointing we miss out on the matchup.

The Browns now have bread and butter offered to Green come Sunday and the Bengals will look like the Super Bowl contenders many thought of entering the season. The Browns are not a good team and the Bengals are. Despite the Bengals early woes, Dalton finds a rhythm and the Bengals will cruise defeating the Browns.

Next: Keys to a win over the Bengals

Eric Szczepinski (2016 record: 3-2): Bengals 30, Browns 20

In his return to Cincinnati, Hue Jackson comes up short. The Bengals are hungry for a win to jumpstart a turnaround for their season and a win against Cleveland would be a good start. Cody Kessler continues to impress and show toughness but the talent around him is lacking in the road loss.