1. Get a big game from Cedric Benson – Last December he went for 150 against the Browns in the teams 19-17 win. This time around, he may actually have to do more as it will lift a huge burden from rookie QB Andy Dalton. “If there being a rookie quarterback causes them to rely upon me a lot more, then I’m excited,” said Benson. Last season in the loss in Cleveland on October 3rd, he ran for just 60 yards. That won’t be enough Sunday.
2. Force a couple game-changing turnovers – Leon Hall and Nate Clements are two CB’s that can come up with picks, and if Browns 2nd year QB Colt McCoy makes a mistake, one of those two guys needs to take a pick back to the house. McCoy completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 1,576 yards with six touchdowns and nine interceptions last year, and while he’s usually pretty accurate, he can be had to make a few mistakes, which would be huge for the Bengals.
3. Get a close to mistake-free game from Andy Dalton – Rookie QB’s usually don’t fare well in their first Pro games, but when they do, it’s usually due to them being careful with the ball. That will be in full effect Sunday when Dalton looks to WR’s A.J. Green, Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley. The four need to come up with catches and break tackles when they have the chance. Dalton went 11 of 17 for 130 yards and a score in a 24-13 win over Carolina on August 25th. That type of effort will put the Bengals in a position to at least be in the game.
4. Win the special teams battle – Josh Cribbs can turn a game around in a few seconds for Cleveland, and with the new kickoff rules, the Bengals need to keep him from gettng out and getting a return on them. “He’s not going to be limited,” Browns rookie coach Pat Shurmur said. “Cribbs is a fantastic player and we’re going to try and put him in position to make plays – however we can do it.” That means look for him to be on the field for return situations all day. The Bengals also need a good game from kicker Mike Nugent, and he can’t be shanking field goals when he has a shot to put points on the board.