Browns at Bengals
I don’t know about you, but I am loving this Bengals team. They’ve played well and beaten up on teams, they’ve had tough games and come back to win, and, in the case of their latest statement win against the Steelers at Heinz Field this past Sunday, they’ve played poorly and done just enough to gut out a tough win. They are the real deal, talented and well-coached on offence, defence, and special teams, and are legitimately one of the top teams in the league. At home against the lowly Browns, there is very little chance that Cincy won’t continue its unbeaten streak for at least another week (and, with the Houston Texans visiting in Week 10…). However, there is a slight cause for Bengals’ fans to be concerned this Thursday night. Sure, there’s the trap game potential, where the favoured team suffers a letdown after a big win and allows itself to lose focus against an inferior opponent. Although that’s a possibility, there’s something else, and it has to do with QB Josh McCown’s injured ribs. If I was a Bengals’ fan, I’d be hoping that McCown starts. Not because I’m afraid of Johnny Manziel; I think McCown gives the Browns a better chance to win than Manziel. You see, there’s danger lurking on the Cleveland sideline, and if McCown is out, then that danger is just that much closer to taking the field.
If I’m a Bengals’ fan, I don’t want any of Austin Davis.
Davis, with the St. Louis Rams, was forced into action last year after Sam Bradford was hurt in the preseason, and replacement Shaun Hill went down in the season opener. Davis proved to be a talented and exciting QB; after winning his first start, he threw 3 TDs in consecutive shootout losses to the Cowboys and Eagles. The highlight of his season came in Week 7, as he threw for 2 TDs with no picks and completed 85 percent of his throws in beating the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks. He was benched after a rough outing against the Cardinals’ fifth-ranked defence, making way for Hill to come back and lead the Rams to victories against the 29th and 32nd ranked defences of Washington and Oakland, respectively, before losing his final three starts. (Honestly, I don’t know what Jeff Fisher was thinking.)
Most likely, this is an easy pick. Cincinnati should win. However, the Browns have some talent on offence; a solid offensive line, and talent at the receiver positions, particularly red-hot TE Gary Barnidge. There’s a lot of “ifs” involved, but if McCown is out, and if the game stays close, and if Manziel has to come out, well, that’s when things could get interesting. If you’re a Bengals’ fan, you should hope that McCown plays. If he doesn’t, then you’re one step closer to seeing Austin Davis, and you don’t want any of Austin Davis. Winner: Bengals