Browns 2017 opponent breakdown: Bengals, Week 4 and Week 12


One by one, is breaking down each of the Browns' 2017 regular season opponents as training camp fast approaches.*

Who: Cincinnati Bengals

When: Oct. 1 and Nov. 26

Where: FirstEnergy Stadium and @ Paul Brown Stadium

Series history:  39-48 (Most recent: Bengals 23, Browns 10 in 2016)

Way-too-early storyline(s): The Bengals had little trouble in overpowering the young Browns last season. In their first meeting on a hot afternoon in Cincinnati, Cleveland surrendered a season-high 559 yards to Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill. On the other side of the ball, the Browns relied on backup quarterback Kevin Hogan, who combined for 200-plus yards passing/rushing, to step in place of an injured Cody Kessler. Later in the season, Cleveland struggled to muster much offense in what was Robert Griffin III's return following a shoulder injury.

Key players to watch: QB Andy Dalton, WR A.J. Green, TE, Tyler Eifert, DL Geno Atkins, DE Carlos Dunlap, LB Vontaze Burfict, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Adam Jones

What happened this offseason?

— The Bengals watched two of their best offensive linemen part ways with the team in free agency. Veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth signed with Los Angeles while Kevin Zeitler, considered one of the league's best guards, reunited with Hue Jackson in Cleveland.

— They used their first-round Draft pick on former Washington wide receiver John Ross, who should serve as a nice to complement to all-world receiver A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd. Cincinnati's pass game ranked 11th last season. — They took former Oklahoma standout Joe Mixon, the controversial running back who punched a female student in the face in 2014, in the second round. Earlier this week, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis defended the selection, saying it involved “a lot of time and research." Mixon was widely considered a first-round talent, rushing for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Because of that, the rookie could compete with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard for carries.​

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