WHERE: Cleveland Browns Stadium.
RECORDS: Bengals (3-2); Browns (0-5).
SERIES: Bengals lead, 42-36.
BROWNS ON OFFENSE: Quarterback Brandon Weeden continues to make strides, but he has to avoid throwing costly interceptions. Learning to throw the ball away has been an issue. Still, his ability to go deep has been a plus. Trent Richardson is the back that makes the offense work, but coach Pat Shurmur has struggled getting him the ball more. It would be nice to see more outside zone and stretch runs, but the guards aren't quick enough to get outside. Rookie receiver Josh Gordon had two touchdown catches last week. He has too much talent to not be on the field all the time. Jordon Norwood also looked good last week with nine receptions, but he might not play because of an injury. The receiving corps is a mess, with Norwood, Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin all possibly out with injuries.
BENGALS ON OFFENSE: Second-year quarterback Andy Dalton is coming off a rough performance in a loss to the Dolphins, but in his short career he's shown the ability to play well against the Browns. For the year he's completed 111-of-169 passes for 1,345 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions. A.J. Green is one of the best big-play receivers in the NFL. He has 36 receptions for 493 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end Jermaine Gresham has 22 catches, and Andrew Hawkins has 20. Benjarvus Green-Ellis leads the ground attack with 300 yards on 91 carries. The line hasn't done a great job of springing Ellis-Green.
BROWNS ON DEFENSE: The good news is that cornerback Joe Haden is back after serving a four-game suspension. The bad news is that the damage has already been done. The secondary sprung all kinds of leaks without Haden. Now cornerback Dimitri Patterson could be out with an ankle injury. Safety T.J. Ward didn't do much last week playing with a broken thumb. The pass rush was negated by the Giants. Middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson went down with a concussion against the Giants and is questionable. It's a big step down in talent to L.J. Fort.
BENGALS ON DEFENSE: Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga leads in tackles with 53. Free safety Reggie Nelson is next with 38. Rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, a first-round draft choice, has yet to play because of a knee injury. Nate Clements has stepped up in his place to team with solid corner Leon Hall. Tackle Geno Atkins has supplied inside pressure, registering six sacks.
BROWNS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Phil Dawson continues to be the team's MVP. He's perfect on 10 field-goal attempts. Punter Reggie Hodges has a 37.5 net average. Returner Josh Cribbs is averaging 31.2 yards on kicks and 13.0 on punts. He needs to be more selective when deciding to come out of the end zone on kick returns, and it would help if he stopped carrying the ball like a loaf of bread.
BENGALS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Mike Nugent had a big miss against the Dolphins. For the season he's connected on 9-of-10 attempts. Punter Kevin Huber has an outstanding 41-yard net average. Brandon Tate averages 23 yards on kick returns and is a big-time threat returning punts (17.6 average on seven returns).
BROWNS MUST: Keep Green from getting open deep. Welcome back, Joe Haden. Weeden needs to avoid making critical mistakes.
BENGALS MUST: Keep Richardson under control. The rookie rushed for 109 yards and one touchdown and caught four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown in the first game between the teams.
PREDICTION: Bengals, 20-14.