The Winning Mix

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The Winning Mix: 3 keys to a victory over the Bengals   

Browns looking for their third straight win in 2022 and their third straight season sweep of the Bengals on Sunday

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Thanks to 21 points from the Browns defensive and special teams units down in Houston, the Browns enter Week 14 on the first two-game winning streak of the season. Things will be much tougher this Sunday as they take on the surging Bengals (8-4), who have won four straight games since being soundly defeated by the Browns 32-13 on Halloween. 

 Let's look at the Winning Mix in how the Browns can grab a critical win and the sixth straight over their division rival. 

1. Win the Turnover Battle

The Browns are 3-0 in 2022 when winning the turnover battle, including the 32-13 win over the Bengals in Week 8. Under head coach Zac Taylor, the Bengals are just 3-22 when losing the turnover battle, so it's critical that the Browns take care of the ball on offense and take it away on defense. I should also point out that the Browns have not lost this season with a clean sheet on offense.

In the last two games against Joe Burrow, the Browns have won by a combined score of 73-29 and in those games, they've intercepted Burrow three times and have forced and recovered three fumbles. The Browns defense had three takeaways in each game, and in the 41-16 win down in Cincy last season, Denzel Ward had a 99-yard pick six on the opening possession. It should also be noted that the Browns defense harassed Burrow thoroughly in both of those games with 10 total sacks, three of which came from Myles Garrett. That kind of impactful defensive performance will go a long way to another massive win over the Bengals.

Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the Cincinnati Bengals

2. Get Deshaun Watson going

Things didn't go as smoothly for Watson and the Browns offense in his first start last week as he was held to 12-for-22 passing for 131 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and passer rating of 53.4. It was the first time in Watson's career that he quarterbacked a team that did not score an offensive touchdown, and it was the lowest rating of his career. In other words, the Browns got a much-needed win, and things will get a lot better for their quarterback and offense as Watson gets comfortable and back to utilizing his immense talents. Watson is near the top of the rankings in NFL history in multiple categories including first in completion percentage (67.6 percent), second in quarterback rating (103.9) and third in yards per attempt (8.3).

This week, look for Watson and his receivers Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones to test rookie CB Cam Taylor-Britt, who enters the game with five straight starts while allowing a 76 percent completion percentage and one touchdown.

3. Run the Ball!

In his last three full games against the Bengals, Nick Chubb has rushed for more than 100 yards with two or more rushing touchdowns in every single one of them — all of which were Browns wins. Chubb is tied with Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis with three career games of 100-plus yards with multiple touchdowns against the Bengals. Chubb is also second in the NFL with 1,119 yards and 12 touchdowns and is just one score on the ground away from a new career high.

Chubb is the only running back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Bengals this year (102 yards and two scores) and the Browns would love to see him repeat the feat on Sunday. It will be tougher this time around with the great DT D.J. Reader back in the starting lineup for the Bengals, but Chubb has always found a way to get some chunk runs against them. It should also be noted that Kareem Hunt's 74 total yards against Cincy in Week 8 tied his season high in 2022 and so the 1-2 punch could absolutely be back in the jungle this Sunday.

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