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Ravens RB Rice Expected to Return, Browns QB Hoyer Looks for Win Against the Bengals

In Week 3, the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) survived without running back Little Ray Rice but on Sunday as they face the Buffalo Bills (1-2), he’s expected to be back on the field. Unless he has a setback during the pregame warmups, Rice will be return to play, reported ESPN.

Ray Rice

Ray Rice

Rice suffered a hip flexor strain on Sept. 15 and when he missed last week’s game, it was his first one in five years. He did practice this week but he was limited by the team.

In the two games that he has played this season, Rice has run for 36 yards in each one but with his return, it is hoped that he will increase the team’s running game; it sits at No. 31 in the league (2.6 yards per carry). From the last two games, backup running back Bernard Pierce has a 2.8 yard average per carry from 58 attempts with one touchdown per game.

The two teams last met in 2007 with a 19-14 Buffalo win. This year it’s the Raven’s turn for the victory (-3, 44 o/u).

AFC North Game of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

Brian Hoyer

Brian Hoyer

Last week, hometown backup quarterback Brian Hoyer led the Cleveland Browns (1-2) to their first win of the season. It was a week of adjustments for the team (see losing running back Trent Richardson and adding veteran Willis McGahee) and the Browns rose to the occasion.

Can the team do it again against division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)?

For Hoyer, Sunday’s game will represent a dream come true. As a kid, he attended Browns games with his dad. Now this week, he’ll enter the stadium not as a fan but as the team’s starting quarterback.

No pressure here in front of fans, family and friends.

On Saturday, Hoyer received praise from his previous quarterback, New England Patriots Tom Brady. He was the player’s backup from 2009 to 2011. Brady said via Cleveland.com, “He has everything it takes physically and mentally to play the position. He loves football and works hard at getting better.”

He added regarding Hoyer’s work ethic, “We talked football whenever we were around one another, but he was solely responsible for his work ethic and improvements over the years.” Brady has wished Hoyer nothing but the best with the exception of their meeting in New England for their Dec. 8 game.

Hoyer captured his first win going 30 for 54, a career-high 321 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He had good protection by his left tackle, Pro Bowler Joe Thomas and his weapon of choice, tight end Jordan Cameron, assisted him with the win. He had four touchdowns for the game (20 catches with a career-high 269 yards) including the one with 51 seconds remaining that gave the Browns the go-ahead for the 31-27 victory over the Minnesota Vikings (0-3).

But this week, the Browns are not playing a Vikings-caliber team, instead they’re playing the Bengals. This team is coming off a historic 34-30 win over the Green Bay Packers (1-2) that included a 14-point lead by the Bengals, then a 16-point deficit, only to rally for the win.

For the Browns defense, they’ll look to repeat their interception history against Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. In last year’s two games, Dalton had four picks but he still played well with his 699 yards (a 71.4 pass completion) and six touchdowns.

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is back to form as he’s had 10 receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown in the last two games. He’ll keep Browns cornerback Joe Haden on his toes. Rookie running back Gio Bernardi has been a great contributor for the Bengal’s rushing game with his 110 yards and two scores to-date.

The Bengals have won in their last seven of nine matchups and will see an eighth victory on Sunday (-3.5, 41.5 o/u).





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