Cleveland is still searching for its first win while Cincinnati is trying to make it three wins in a row away from home. The last meeting between these two teams resulted in a thrilling shootout, which ended with a 34-27 win by the Bengals.
With excitement and anticipation building, here is everything you need to know for Sunday afternoon's battle for Ohio.
Where: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
When: Sunday, October 14 at 1 p.m. ET
Listen: WCKY 1530 AM (Cincinnati), WAKR 1590 AM (Akron)
Live Streaming: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Line: Browns (1), according to Covers.com.
What's At Stake?
There is much more at stake for the Bengals on Sunday for obvious reasons. At 3-2, Cincinnati is right in the thick of things in the AFC North, and can inch closer to the Baltimore Ravens with a win in Cleveland in Week 6. A loss would drop Cincinnati to .500 and put the team in danger of falling to third in the division with Pittsburgh coming to town in Week 7.
For the Browns, a win would provide a mighty boost for the final 10 games of the season. A loss would have Cleveland at 0-6 heading to Indianapolis in Week 7. At that point all the Browns could look forward to would be earning the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Bengals Injury Report (according to ESPN.com)
RB Bernard Scott (Out)
CB Jason Allen (Questionable)
Browns Injury Report (according to ESPN.com)
TE Alex Smith (Questionable)
WR Mohamed Massaquoi
Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em and Sleeper
Start 'Em: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB
A key statistic that points to a big day from Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis in Week 6 is the fact that Cleveland has allowed more than 160 rushing yards per game on average over the last three weeks, and even surrendered 243 to the New York Giants last weekend.
The Law Firm hasn't scored a rushing touchdown since Week 3 at Washington, but it's safe to say he'll get his third of the season on Sunday in Cleveland. The way the Browns' run defense has looked lately, you would be silly to sit Green-Ellis.
Sit 'Em: Jermaine Gresham, TE
The Cleveland Browns' defense has made life miserable for opposing tight ends over recent weeks, allowing just 10 receptions and less than 100 receiving yards to tight ends since Week 2. Gresham managed just 37 yards on four catches at home against Cleveland in the two teams' first meeting.
Like Green-Ellis, Gresham hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3 at Washington. But unlike Green-Ellis, don't expect Andy Dalton's big target to have much luck on the road against a Browns defense that is renowned for stifling tight ends.
Sleeper: Jordan Norwood, WR
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jordan Norwood has become one of Brandon Weeden's favorite targets over the last two weeks. Norwood has been targeted 19 times since Week 4 at Baltimore and has 13 receptions for 137 yards in two games.
With Cincinnait's pass defense down from a year ago, and injuries still affecting the Browns' wide receiving corps, expect a solid day from Norwood, who is owned in less than one percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues heading into Week 6.
What They're Saying
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Nate Clements apparently grew up rooting for the Cleveland Browns, the team he will attempt to beat on Sunday (via Cincinnati.com's Kevin Kelly):
I grew up a Browns fan back in the era where they had Ozzie Newsome, Bernie Kosar; guys like Felix Wright, Frank Minnifield, Hanford Dixon, Michael Dean Perry. I definitely grew up as a Browns fan as a kid. I didn’t get a chance to go but definitely would be tuned in on Sundays watching them.
Clements will have a great shot to get his first interception of the season this weekend against Brandon Weeden, who has tossed nine in five games.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur has been focused on Week 6's showdown with Cincinnati ever since Cleveland was blown out at MetLife Stadium last weekend (via Cleveland.com):
We’re moving forward. (We’re) looking forward to playing the Bengals this week...We’re playing a team that we know pretty well. They’re coming off a tough loss and (we’re) looking forward to playing them here at home.
Cleveland has lost four straight games to Cincinnati and 11 straight overall.
Bengals Player to Watch
Cincinnati's stud wideout A.J. Green has been targeted nearly twice as many times as any other Bengal this season and for good reason. At 6'4", the second-year star out of Georgia is among the few elite playmakers in the NFL.
Green has 36 receptions for 493 yards and four touchdowns through five games this season. He is tied with fellow wideout Andrew Hawkins for most plays of 20 or more yards this season among Bengals players, he has five.
Browns Player to Watch
The player to watch for the home team on Sunday is obvious. Rookie running back Trent Richardson has been sensational through the first quarter of the season. After five weeks, Richardson leads the Browns in rushing and is the team's second-leading receiver.
Richardson has touched the ball 101 times this season, but has accumulated more than 470 total yards and five touchdowns. The last time Richardson faced the Bengals, in Week 2, he rushed for more than 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The most important matchup to watch for this weekend will be the Cleveland Browns' defense vs. the Cincinnati Bengals' rushing attack. Cleveland has been dreadful against the run as of late and gave up 200 yards on the ground to Ahmad Bradshaw alone in Week 5.
If BenJarvus Green-Ellis can find gaps in the Browns' defense early on then the Bengals will be on their way to a sweep of Cleveland for the second straight season.
On the Hot Seat
Second-year Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur has gone just 4-17 since taking over at the start of 2011. If the Browns drop to 0-6 on Sunday, his future with the team will have to be brought into question. Shurmur and the Browns have lost 11 games in a row dating back to last November.
Cleveland is the only win-less team in the NFL coming into Week 6 and the embarrassment of that alone could wind up costing Shurmur his job at some point during the season if not after.
Cincinnati is coming off a surprising loss last weekend at home to the Miami Dolphins and will be wide awake for its matchup with Cleveland on Sunday. I believe the Bengals offense will score just once more than Trent Richardson and the Browns. It's never easy to win on the road in the NFL, but much more doable when your opponent is 0-5. Cleveland remains win-less and the Bengals inch closer to the AFC North lead.
Bengals 24, Browns 17
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