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Browns-Bengals matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Posted Dec. 15, 2010 @ 7 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Here's a matchup to watch to in Sunday's Browns-Bengals game: 

Bengals RB Cedric Benson vs. the Browns' run defense

It's been a disappointing season for Benson and the Bengals' running game. Benson, who rushed for 1,251 yards and six TDs on 301 carries in 13 games a season ago, has received less work in 2010 and has struggled to find running room.

On the season, Benson has racked up 856 yards and six TDs on 245 carries. He's gaining just 3.5 yards per carry compared to 4.2 yards a season ago. He's been held to 3.0 yards per carry or fewerin 7-of-13 games in 2010 and hasn't exceeded 49 yards in any of the last three games.

Benson, who averaged 23.2 carries last season as the Bengals emphasized a grind-it-out approach on offense, is averaging 18.8 carries in 2010.

The Bengals have been most likely to run up the middle, attempting 77 rushes (3.38 YPC) in that direction this season. Cleveland is allowing 4.09 yards per carry on middle runs.

In the first meeting with the Bengals, Benson rushed 15 times for 60 yards as Cincinnati had great success attacking with the pass. With temperatures forecast in the low 20s but the wind not expected to be particularly strong at Paul Brown Stadium, the weather might not force the Bengals to alter their offensive strategy, but perhaps Cincinnati will want to take some pressure off QB Carson Palmer and go after a Cleveland run defense allowing 124.7 yards per game and 4.1 yards per carry.

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