Browns-Bengals prediction

Posted Dec. 19, 2010 @ 11:33 a.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

One big personnel change for the Browns enhances their chances of winning this game. 

The return of QB Colt McCoy helps the Browns' offense. He's less likely to make mistakes than his predecessor, Jake Delhomme, and he has more playmaking ability. Perhaps he can spark the offense and get the Browns back in the win column. 

Still, I think this is the week the Bengals finally end their slide. They have played a slew of the NFL's who's who lately — the Jets, Saints and Steelers in succession — and they have been competitive. I have a sense they can improve off those efforts. 

The Browns are a tougher read for me. I was alarmed by their poor play at Buffalo. It wasn't their miscues, but rather the fact that the offense could muster just six points (and couldn't get much of anything at all going in the passing game) and the defense struggled to stop the run.

McCoy gives Cleveland a chance to be more competitive, but I don't believe it will be enough. Perhaps it's their decent recent form, or the more than 400 yards they racked up vs. Cleveland in the first meeting, but I see the highlights of this game being a healthy portion of the Bengals' NFL Films 2010 highlight video (working title: "These Tigers Will Roar Again"). I like the Bengals' chances of earning their third win of the season. 

Prediction: Bengals 24, Browns 17