IHow to Keep it Rollin’
The Browns have now won two games in a row, which is great, but three in a row is even better. The team is favored (by a few points) on the road against a winless Jacksonville Jaguars. However, they cannot afford to take anyone lightly – especially against a talent like Blake Bortles. What can the Browns do to continue winning? Let’s take a look…
#1 – Pretend it’s a Home Game
It’s well documented that the Browns have started extremely slow in their first two away games (27 – 3 and 28 – 3, respectively). There is no more excuse for this to occur – regardless of the opponent. They now face a perceived inferior opponent; the Browns must come out fast and grab the early lead. Doing so will take the wind out of the fans’ sails and could turn the contest into a home game (the way it was in Nashville).
#2 – Make the Rookie Pay
Despite the fact he was the third overall selection in last year’s draft; quarterback Blake Bortles is definitely prone to errors. Last week, he heaved an interception and now has seven for the season. The Browns’ offense has shown they can turn those into touchdowns, and I expect them to make it very difficult on the home team’s offense. A defensive touchdown is not out of the question for the Browns’ secondary.
#3 – Continue Pounding the Rock
Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell did a fine job running hard last week. Will Terrance West be active in this game? That’s to be determined, but you can bet he will have something to prove when he’s on the field. The Jaguars have not faced a rushing attack like they will on Sunday. Look for the standard game plan, run the ball to soften the opposing defense and set up play-action passing.
#4 – Find the Guys Who Can Take Over
Alex Mack, Armonty Bryant, and Phil Taylor are three guys who will miss (at least) several games for the remainder of 2014. Can Paul McQuistan and John Greco play great the rest of the way? Are John Hughes and Ishmaa’ily Kitchen reliable down the stretch? I sure hope so, and Sunday provides an opportunity to see whether these guys can fill in and dominate the way the injured stars did. I have all the faith and confidence that the reserves can be solid –time will come for them to prove me right.
#5 – Be Closers
Now the Browns have won in a few different ways – a large comeback, a two-minute drill, and a blowout. The team is learning how to win in the end; now comes a time when they can prove to close out contests (the way the Ravens and Steelers did five to ten years ago). It’s refreshing to see the Browns being on this side of the battle – having a strong running attack and a defense with a knack for making plays are keys for finishing contests in the NFL.
Conclusion: I haven’t felt this confident in the Browns to win a game for some time, even with last week’s injuries. They must do their jobs and get it done on the field, but I can see them winning by two scores in this contest.