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Browns-Bengals matchup of the day: Tuesday

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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Posted Nov. 22, 2011 @ 10:32 a.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

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

Browns' pass protection vs. Bengals' pass rush

In the Week One meeting between the clubs, the Bengals sacked Browns QB Colt McCoy twice and hit him six times. Both sacks were by their starting safeties, Chris Crocker and Reggie Nelson.

With the Browns lacking playmakers in the passing game, preferring to throw short and relying quite a bit on sometimes slow-developing crossing routes, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer doesn't figure to have much reason to fear blitzing McCoy in the rematch.

Even if the Bengals don't choose to blitz much, they are capable of generating pressure with just a four-man rush, with DT Geno Atkins and DE Carlos Dunlap the players to watch. Dunlap had two QB hits in Week One. Browns ORT Tony Pashos, who missed the first meeting between the clubs, should help Cleveland fare better against Dunlap this time.

McCoy has had his problems with pass-rush pressure in his brief career. He is not especially mobile. If he has to pull the ball down in the face of the pass rush and reload, the Bengals will have won the battle, for he does not have a very strong arm and lacks height.

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