Though the Bengals are undefeated and the Browns are struggling through the season in true Cleveland style, Thursday night's AFC match up could prove to be exciting, especially if the Browns can find a way to play through the entire game without collapsing.
For the Browns, quarterback Johnny Manziel will be starting. Manziel's biggest strength is his offensive line. Joe Thomas is a phenomenal offensive lineman, a key component of a unit that Pro Football Focus ranks second in the entire league. The Browns also have done well on special teams this season. They will need all the help they can get in terms of field position, field goals, and coverage if they are going to pull off a surprise victory against the Bengals.
On the Bengals side of the ball, quarterback Andy Dalton is still on fire. Against the Steelers, the team showed signs of weakness on its offensive line, and the offense as a whole seemed weaker than it had to that point in the season. The Bengals level of play regressed, as the team was plagued by mental mistakes, sloppy play, and penalties. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bengals struggled to stop the run. Their pass defense and special teams performances were still top-notch, however.
If the Bengals have an off day and the Browns are able to play well for all four quarters, Thursday night could bring one of the biggest upsets of the year, one that would be much appreciated by Steelers fans hoping the team can nab a Wild Card spot.