Five Things to Go over .500
What a great win last week! The Browns were due for a victory like this, and they definitely earned it over the Saints. Now they have another difficult game at home against the Baltimore Ravens, who are fresh off an emotional victory. Jason Campbell and the Browns were able to knock off the Ravens last year at home, can Hoyer do the same? These things need to occur if they want to get that win…
#1 – Replicate Last Game’s Start
In both of the Ravens’ games, they put a great deal of points on the scoreboard in the second half. I anticipate this will occur again in this outing, so it is imperative that the Browns get out in front and not fall behind. Trailing a team who scores late is a recipe for a loss – the Browns (in all three phases) must make sure that does not occur.
#2 – Don’t Settle for Field Goals
The Saints are more of a high scoring franchise than the Ravens are, but the Browns should still avoid complacency on offense. While thirty points could easily win this game, the Browns must try to get in the end zone as frequently as possible and avoid a 17-14 dogfight. While I have more faith in this team than ones a few years ago, the Ravens are still a ferocious bunch who can pull out tough victories.
#3 – Play Mistake-Free Football
Not fumbling or throwing interceptions has been the offensive M.O. for the Browns. That needs to continue, as a mistake here or there and the Ravens can take a two-touchdown lead. While I love what this offense has done so far, I’m not sure they can come back on a weekly basis. Should they prove me wrong, and I’ll be excited – but I would rather have the Browns not provide the visitors constant opportunities to blitz with a double-digit lead.
#4 – Lock Down on the Tight Ends
While Owen Daniels and Dennis Pitta are not as excellent as Jimmy Graham, the Browns must account for the tight end position. This duo is fantastic in the red zone, and I fear the Browns cannot find the right guy to stop them. Coaches Pettine and O’Neil must be creative in this week’s strategy and employ a tall, fast athlete to wall off throws. Can they use Barkevious Mingo? Is Justin Gilbert up to the test? Frankly, I don’t care who the Browns use, as long as they get the job done.
#5 – Let the Crowd Help You Out
The roar of the fans was palpable and the players, for both teams, definitely felt it. Drew Brees had to burn a few timeouts early, while the home team’s players were thanking fans afterwards for their support. I’ve said it before, if the Browns put a half-decent team
out there, the fans will be the loudest in the league. Giving the team any advantage is huge in the NFL, and I’d like to believe they could do it again on Sunday. This fan base has waited long enough and will love to celebrate another victory – hopefully the game is close where they can assist the home team.
Conclusion: The atmosphere after last week’s win was simply awesome; fans were chanting, people were celebrating, and everyone (rooting for the Browns) was happy. I hope to see a copy of that again this week, but many things must go the home team’s way first. A close contest should ensue once again on the lakefront.