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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections |  Projections by Team | Game Predictions Summary

NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE * MIN at SD * SEA at SF
* ATL at CHI * DAL at NYJ * NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
* BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL * NE at MIA (mon)
*updated CAR at ARI * IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

Prediction: CIN 10, CLE 20

Players to Watch: A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, Montario Hardesty

This seems like a messy game. It seems like we say that every year. And we do. The Bengals have a new quarterback and receivers and new offensive coordinator. The Browns have all new coaches across the board but the same players. These games are always close and rarely that interesting.

The Bengals lost 20-23 in Cleveland last year and later won 19-17 at home.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE - 10 PIT -
2 @DEN - 11 @BAL -
3 SF - 12 CLE -
4 BUF - 13 @PIT -
5 @JAC - 14 HOU -
6 IND - 15 @STL -
7 Bye - 16 ARI -
8 @SEA - 17 BAL -
9 @TEN -      
Bengals Report | Statistics | Roster
CINCINNATI at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton - - 180,1
RB Cedric Benson 70 10 -
TE Jermaine Gresham - 30,1 -
WR A.J. Green - 60 -
WR Jerome Simpson - 40 -
WR Jordan Shipley - 40 -
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: This is going to be a truly new year. A rookie at quarterback and no Palmers left on the team. The duo of Ochocinco and Houshmandzadeh is long gone and will now rely on a rookie wideout as the hopeful #1 receiver. Cedric Benson was retained only because no one else wanted him and it would be too messy to bother with address forwarding for all his legal mail. This looks like a long season but perhaps some strides can be made with young players.

QUARTERBACK: The "Red Rifle" Andy Dalton was the 2.03 pick by the Bengals and the TCU product comes in with a big arm. He's looked sharp in practice and preseason games and now gets fed to the wolves if only because there is no other quarterbacks on the roster any better.

The Bengals passed for 371 yards and two scores in Cleveland last year. Seems pretty optimistic to expect this time.

RUNNING BACKS: The Bengals brought Cedric Benson back for this year and he'll be playing for a bigger payday but the Bengals line is nothing special and frankly neither are Benson's skills so far. Last season he only gained 1111 yards on 321 carries for a 3.5 YPC and seven touchdowns. He has almost no role as a receiver either. He's just a place holder in the first year of a rebuilding phase for the Bengals.

The coaches once again are saying they need to use Bernard Scott more but it just never happens.

Benson rushed for 60 yards on 15 carries in Cleveland last year. He did turn in 150 yards and a score on 31 carries in the matchup back in Cincy.

WIDE RECEIVERS: It is all speculation what to expect in this unit with a rookie quarterback throwing to a rookie wideout - albeit the top drafted receiver who went at the 1.04 pick. This could be the beginning of a new era but the early stages are bound to get ugly with this group. Andre Caldwell is a journeyman receiver at best and Jordan Shipley offers some promise when he started in the slot as a rookie and produced 52 catches for 600 yards and three scores. The new offense may not make the same use of the position, but it is worth tracking because Shipley is a play maker and with Green drawing defenders away from the middle of the field, Shipley could take another step up. Jerome Simpson starts the year across from A.J. Green.

Terrell Owens gained 222 yards and one score in Cleveland last year.

TIGHT ENDS: Jermaine Gresham was a popular sleeper pick for tight end this summer thanks to catching 52 passes for 471 yards and four scores as a rookie but the entire passing game is being made over and Carson Palmer is gone. He is worth tracking to see if Dalton falls back to him at least in the early stages of this season.

Gresham only gained 35 yards on five catches against the Browns last year. He later only managed one reception for six yards in the home matchup.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 16 27 7 27 25 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 19 15 17 23 18 16

Cleveland Browns
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN - 10 STL -
2 @IND - 11 JAC -
3 MIA - 12 @CIN -
4 TEN - 13 BAL -
5 Bye - 14 @PIT -
6 @OAK - 15 @ARI -
7 SEA - 16 @BAL -
8 @SF - 17 PIT -
9 @HOU -      
Browns Report | Statistics | Roster
CLEVELAND vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Colt McCoy - - 200,1
RB Peyton Hillis 90,1 30 -
TE Ben Watson - 40 -
TE Evan Moore - 30,1 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 60 -
WR Brian Robiskie - 30 -
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Browns are retooling the entire team and the lockout made sure that the process will take a while to bear fruit. But the season ended with Colt McCoy looking impressive and Peyton Hillis being a huge surprise until wearing out at the end of last year. There is transition still happening with the personnel but for the first week and maybe the easiest game all year, the basics will be good enough.

QUARTERBACK: Colt McCoy got his chance to start in week six of last season and all things considered did well. He pased for six scores in seven games and topped 200 passing yards five times despite a rag tag group of receivers who should be "one year better" if only in experience. This week will be basics against the Bengals so that should depress the passing numbers.

Seneca Wallace passed for 184 yards and one score against the visiting Bengals last season.

RUNNING BACKS: Peyton Hillis not only had career best marks in 2010 of 1654 yards and 13 touchdowns, he crushed anything he had done in the NFL or in college where he was a fullback. He slowed down with no scores after week 12 and only one game with more than around 70 total yards in those final five weeks. This season will see Hillis open the year as the primary back again and Montario Hardesty will be little more than his backup. But - Hardesty was drafted to be the starter last year before Hillis had his surprising chance. And eventually this may become a tandem backfield since Hillis wore down with just 270 carries.

Hardesty is the one to watch here and mainly for him to reduce Hillis' value.

Hillis rushed for 102 yards and one score on 27 carries and added two receptions for eight yards against the Bengals last year. He later was held to only 59 yards on 14 runs in the away game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This was a motley crew in 2010 where no player had more than 483 yards on the year or more than three scores. Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie are the starters again but neither have any fantasy value yet. The Browns drafted Greg Little with their 2.27 pick and expect him to eventually develop into a starting receiver and likely #1. But Little is still raw and learning the offense. He'll be a factor at some point but this is too early to expect much. This was the worst offense in using wide receivers last season so expect it to take some time.

No wideout gained more than 56 yards against the Bengals last year. In the away game, both Chansi Stuckey and Brian Robiskie scored.

TIGHT ENDS: In both meetings with the Bengals, a tight end scored a touchdown. Evan Moore scored in the home meeting on his only catch and Robert Royal scored in the away game. Ben Watson had nice efforts in both, going 6-60 and 7-92 as the lead receiver in both games. Moore has been particularly good in camp this year and both players deserve to be projected stats.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 30 20 32 11 29 20
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 3 14 24 10 25 30

NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE MIN at SD SEA at SF
BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL NE at MIA (mon)
  CAR at ARI IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

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