You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Stakes are high for Battle of Ohio


To those living outside the Buckeye State, the Battle of Ohio hasn’t been much more than a skirmish in terms of NFL relevance. That changes Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

For the first time in six seasons the rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals means more than state bragging rights, side bets and being able to show your face at work Monday morning. Fans of the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers will be rooting — grudgingly, of course — for the Browns to help them reel in the division-leading Bengals.

The 6-4 Bengals lead the AFC North over the Browns and Ravens, both at 4-5. Even the 3-6 Steelers are not totally out of the division chase.

The Browns won the Week 4 meeting 17-6 in Cleveland with quarterback Brian Hoyer. With Hoyer out for the season and Brandon Weeden benched, Jason Campbell — the 20th quarterback to make a start for the Browns since their return to the league in 1999 — tries to give Cleveland its first Battle of Ohio season sweep since 2002.

“It’s a big rivalry. It’s my first year here so I haven’t been able to be in the ones in the past,” Campbell said, “but being here in Ohio I understand it’s a huge game. It’s a more important game because it’s a division game. That’s what makes the stakes really high.”

How high? Consider this: Sunday’s game marks the first time since 1995 the Browns and Bengals have met when both teams held first and second place in the division. It’s also their biggest meeting since Week 16 of the 2007 season. That’s when a 19-14 Bengals’ victory severely damaged the Browns’ postseason chances.

Cincinnati leads the regular-season series 42-38, including a 26-14 record at home.

Coaches tend to shy away from the term “must-win.” But for a Bengals team coming off two straight overtime losses a win over the Browns would certainly give them a needed push toward their first division title since 2009.

“Well, I don’t want to help them,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said of the increasingly competitive AFC North. “I’ve just got to worry about us. That’s the important thing, that every time we come out here, it means something. Hopefully we’ve built to that, where every game means another opportunity down the line. That’s what’s important. That’s what everybody strives for.”

A Browns win would tighten up the AFC North race and keep them in the wild-card hunt. Both Cleveland and Baltimore (along with Miami and San Diego) are one game behind the New York Jets for the final playoff spot. The Browns, who haven’t made the postseason since 2002, need some rare road wins to get there.

Cleveland is 33-83 on the road since 1999, including a 1-3 record this season. Four of its final seven games are on the road — at Cincinnati, New England, the Jets and Pittsburgh.

“It takes great focus to win on the road,” Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski said. “It’s a mentality, a business mentality when you go on those trips that you have to go and play a full-team game. That’s where we’re at; offense, defense, special teams have to play well together. … You don’t have a lot of fans so you have to generate your own energy. Those are the things that we need to try to do this weekend.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

High School Results for 1/20: Stivers boys win in overtime
High School Results for 1/20: Stivers boys win in overtime

The Stivers boys basketball team ended the game with five unanswered points to edge Belmont 54-51 in overtime on Friday night. Tony Boddie led the way with 23 points and Trevon Ellis added nine, including the tying basket and go-ahead free throw in OT. Miles Clark hit a pair of foul shots with two seconds to play that iced the game for Stivers (8-6)...
Springfield celebrates Davis’ birthday with win
Springfield celebrates Davis’ birthday with win

It may have been Danny Davis’ birthday on Friday night, but he did the gift giving. Davis gave Springfield fans a performance to remember in the Wildcats’ 70-64 win over Fairmont. He scored 26 points, including a dunk in the last minute to help secure the victory. But as important as his scoring was, Springfield coach Isaiah Carson said...
H.S. basketball: Catholic Central throttles Cedarville
H.S. basketball: Catholic Central throttles Cedarville

By the end of the first quarter Friday night, the net Catholic Central was shooting through might have been hot to the touch. Seven 3-pointers and 29 points created a lot of friction. When it was time to cool off at the quarter break the Irish had a 25-point lead on the way to a 68-41 Ohio Heritage Conference victory over Cedarville. “That&rsquo...
What to watch this weekend in sports
What to watch this weekend in sports

The NFL’s conference championship games are this weekend, but that’s not all.  Here is what you’ll want to watch this weekend in sports:  Archie Miller’s crew plays host to Saint Louis at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.  No. 2 Louisville is at No. 10 Florida State on ESPN at 2 p.m.  At 4, flip it over to CBS...
March Forecast I: Where the Dayton Flyers stand in race to March Madness
March Forecast I: Where the Dayton Flyers stand in race to March Madness

It’s never to early to think about the NCAA tournament. Seven weeks before Selection Sunday, here’s a rundown of where the Dayton Flyers (14-4) stand in the minds of the experts as they seek a school record fourth straight trip to the big dance. With an RPI of 26, Dayton’s chances look good at this point, but its shortage of top-50...
More Stories