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Preview: Cincinnati at Cleveland
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
The Cincinnati Bengals have their eyes focused on clinching their fifth consecutive postseason berth while the Cleveland Browns are finding new and creative ways to lose games. The AFC North-leading Bengals would love nothing more than to add to their Buckeye State rival’s misery on Sunday by completing a season sweep and handing the host Browns their seventh straight setback.
“Our goals are bigger than (just making the postseason),” said quarterback Andy Dalton, who threw three touchdown passes in Cincinnati’s 31-7 victory over St. Louis last week and did the same in a 31-10 rout of Cleveland on Nov. 5. “The nice thing is that we’ve put ourselves in position where we can start handling that stuff as the season goes along. But our focus is getting this win right now, and that will set us up better for the end of the season.” Cleveland will need to find its focus after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday, courtesy of a blocked field goal attempt which led to a touchdown as time expired in a 33-27 loss to Baltimore. “Tough one to wrap your brain around,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.
LINE: Bengals -9.5. O/U: 43.5
ABOUT THE BENGALS (9-2): Tyler Eifert, who is listed as questionable for Sunday’s tilt, has yet to practice this week after receiving a stinger in his neck versus the Rams. The tight end torched the Browns in the previous meeting last month by reeling in three of his NFL-leading 12 touchdown receptions. Running back Jeremy Hill rolled up a season-high 86 yards last week and could improve on that total when he faces Cleveland’s 31st-ranked rush defense.
ABOUT THE BROWNS (2-9): The quarterback carousel made yet another turn this week as Pettine announced that Austin Davis will be the 24th starter for the club since 1999. “He deserves this opportunity,” Pettine said of the 26-year-old Davis, who gets the nod after Josh McCown broke his right collarbone on Monday while former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel tries to escape the doghouse. Davis completed 7-of-10 passes for 77 yards on Monday, with six completions in as many attempts on Cleveland’s scoring drive.
1. Cincinnati is attempting to win 10 of its first 12 games in a season for the first time since 1975.
2. Cleveland has dropped 14 of its last 16 dating to last season.
3. The Bengals have won 16 of the last 22 meetings with the Browns.
PREDICTION: Bengals 27, Browns 10