5 sports storylines to watch this week

1. Bengals earning their stripes: How’s this for a two-game stretch: The Cincinnati Bengals host their hated rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, tonight on Monday Night Football. Then, on a short week no less, they welcome Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. The Bengals are catching the Steelers as they attempt to recover from some key injuries. Center Maurkice Pouncey, linebacker Larry Foote and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling were all placed on IR last week.

2. Browns to face AP: The Cleveland Browns travel to Minnesota on Sunday to face the game’s best running back in Adrian Peterson. The Browns’ own running back, Trent Richardson, announced his desire to carry the ball — and the team — more this season. Not falling behind and forcing the offense to throw would help. So would this: Richardson had two runs last season of 20-yards or more.

3. Going the distance: It’s not just a marathon, it’s an event. The 17th United States Air Force Marathon takes off Saturday starting at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The marathon is sold out for a fourth straight year, and the half marathon and 5K run sold out in record time. No wonder. With encouraging water stop workers, college mascots roaming around and the Fairborn Fly Zone — a fun area in downtown Fairborn for spectators to cheer on their favorite runners — the run is full of fun. The marathon gun goes off at 7:30 a.m. An after party at The Greene is open to the public.

4. Speed thrills: It’s a sprint car fan’s dream weekend at Eldora Speedway. The historic Darke County track hosts its 4-Crown Nationals on Friday and Saturday. The winged World of Outlaws and UMP DIRTcar modifieds take to the track on Friday. USAC rules on Saturday with the national midgets, sprints and Silver Crown cars. Visist www.eldoraspeedway.com for more info.

5. School spirit: Carroll High School’s boys soccer team saw its state-record 68-game unbeaten streak snapped on Saturday, but the Patriots have plenty to play for when they travel to Fenwick on Wednesday. Carroll is No. 1 and Fenwick No. 3 in the area coaches’ Division II poll. On the girls side, Centerville and Springboro — No. 1 and No. 2 in the coaches’ D-I rankings — meet in ‘Boro on Monday.

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