WHEN: Today at 1 at Paul Brown Stadium.
SERIES: Bengals lead, 41-36.
BROWNS ON OFFENSE: It was a disaster in a 17-16 loss to the Eagles last week. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden was 12-of-35 for 118 yards and four interceptions. He looked lost as the game progressed. Rookie running back Trent Richardson was less than 100 percent coming off knee surgery and was limited to 39 yards on 19 carries. Both players need to improve if the Browns are to have any chance. Receiver Greg Little didn't have a catch, but he did have a key drop on a pass that was then intercepted in the red zone. He needs to play better. The line was okay in pass protection but it didn't do much to help Richardson on the ground.
BENGALS ON OFFENSE: It was a rough start to quarterback Andy Dalton's sophomore season in a 44-13 loss to the Ravens. Dalton was 22-of-37 for 221 yards and one interception. He was sacked four times and harassed several other times. Receiver A.J. Green had a huge rookie season last year and will present a challenge in the deep game. Andrew Hawkins had eight receptions last week and will give the Browns another concern. BenJarvus Green-Ellis replaces Cedric Benson at running back. He had 91 yards against the Ravens. Tight end Jermaine Greshman is one of Dalton's favorite targets.
BROWNS ON DEFENSE: The unit will be without cornerback Joe Haden, who has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's drug policy. Haden's absence will certainly be exploited by the Bengals. Dimitri Patterson will move outside from the slot and will match up against Green in man coverage. Second-year cornerback Buster Skrine will replace Patterson in the slot. Cornerback Sheldon Brown will play after hurting a shoulder last week. The unit played well against the Eagles. It was particularly effective in pressuring quarterback Michael Vick, who was sacked twice and hurried into numerous errant throws. Linebacker Scott Fujita has been activated from the suspended list and should play.
BENGALS ON DEFENSE: Coach Marvin Lewis probably threw away film of the loss to the Ravens, who garnered 430 yards. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 308 yards and the Bengals allowed 122 rushing yards. The unit is without first-round draft choice Dre Kirkpatrick at cornerback. Nate Clements ideally would be at safety, but he's replacing Kirkpatrick. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga anchors the defense. Strong-side linebacker Manny Lawson was the 49ers' first-round draft choice in 2006. He showed some pass-rush ability early in his career before tearing an ACL in 2007.
BROWNS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Phil Dawson made all three of his field-goal attempts last week. Punter Reggie Hodges has a 40.3 net average. Return specialist Joshua Cribbs averages 30.3 yards on kicks and 13 yards on punts, but he was on the injury report (knee).
BENGALS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Bengals kicker Mike Nugent made two field goals last week and has developed into a dependable player. Punter Kevin Huber has a 41.3 net average. Brandon Tate averages 21.3 yards returning kicks and 9.5 yards on punts.
BROWNS MUST: Get much better play from the offense. It's that simple. Weeden doesn't have to be great, but it would help if he would look at least average.
BENGALS MUST: Give Dalton better protection than they did against the Ravens. The Browns were successful pressuring Vick, and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron will certainly go after Dalton.
PREDICTION: Bengals, 21-13.