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Pettine: Joe Haden vs. A.J. Green could decide winner

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Sunday's "Battle of Ohio" marks a pivotal game for both the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.

The most important battle-within-the-battle will be a familiar one, with receiver A.J. Green taking on cornerback Joe Haden.

Browns coach Mike Pettine believes the winner of the matchup could determine the outcome of the contest.

"To me it's going to determine how the game goes," Pettine said this week, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. "It's no secret that we are going to put (Haden) on A.J. a good amount during the game and that very well could determine it because I know they are not going to shy away from throwing the ball to their best receiver."

In the previous seven matchups, Green has just two games of more than 100 yards against Haden. The cornerback has slowed the dynamic wideout to just five catches for 30 yards in their last two meetings -- including three for 23 in their Week 10 matchup.

A.J. Green when Joe Haden is targeted defender (career)
Targets 36
Receptions 16
Yards 300
TD 2
INT 2
Rating 69.2

Green has been on fire the past month, going for 11 catches, 224 yards and a touchdown last week alone. He has 100-plus yards in three of his last four games and five receiving touchdowns in his last seven contests.

Since the Week 10 matchup against Haden, Green has put up otherworldly numbers: 33 receptions for 529 yards and three scores.

The Browns need Haden to stop that dominant force to cripple the Cincinnati's offense in order to keep their own playoff hopes alive.

However, if Green continues his streak of dominance, the Bengals could continue to stiff-arm the rest of the AFC North and remain atop the division.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the Week 15 schedule and recaps the Cardinals' win over the Rams. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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