Browns @ Bills – Five Keys to Success
I’m sure some guys in the Browns’ locker room were content with the indoors last week, however now they travel north to the outdoors against the Buffalo Bills. There are many storylines in this contest, including a few members on the Browns who were on the opposite sidelines not too long ago. Let’s see how the Browns can garner a victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium…
#1 – Be Smart with the Elements
The treacherous weather in western New York has altered lives the past few weeks. On Sunday, both teams will change their game plans – to likely a more conservative route. Snow and wind are detrimental to a kicking unit and a downfield passing attack. Even if the Browns are down multiple scores, it would be wise to attempt “chunk plays” as opposed to trying for the long touchdown. The poor weather can cause unnecessary turnovers if the Browns are not careful.
#2 – Learn from the Houston Game – Offensively
This relates to the Browns sticking to what makes them successful – fairly reliant on the running game, with a sprinkle or two of passing plays. The pair of rookies must fight and claw against this tough defensive front that includes Mario and Kyle Williams. However, if they are successful – are most importantly hold onto the football – the rest of the offense will open up. That is when Brian Hoyer can hit his targets downfield or wide-open receivers underneath. Preventing the opponent from knowing your offensive strategy is huge for the Browns’ success.
#3 – Learn from the Houston Game – Defensively
No matter if it’s C.J. Spiller or Bryce Brown; the Cleveland defense must limit the running attack of the opponent. Buffalo is a very physical bunch in the trenches, and the Browns have struggled thus far with teams willing to run it between the tackles consistently. Whether it’s a great scheme by Jim O’Neil, or exceptional play by an unexpected athlete (like Ishmaa’ily Kitchen) – the Browns have to do something to end this trend of allowing the opposition to tote the ball with little resistance.
#4 – Force Kyle Orton’s Hand
Let’s be honest – Bills’ quarterback Kyle Orton is not going to throw for 400 yards and four touchdowns in this contest. However, he has been excellent at dinking and dunking down the field – to exceptional targets like rookie Sammy Watkins. The secondary must attempt to take
that part of the veteran’s game away and force him into longer, more difficult passes. This comes back to Cleveland excelling on earlier downs. If they can keep the Bills at third down and long (over six yards to gain) most of the contest, there’s a good chance a win can happen.
#5 – Take Advantage
Awful weather conditions and a signal caller who has shown an ability to turn over the football are two things that put this contest in the visitor’s favor. In order to actually secure the victory, they must do what is expected and make the most of their opportunities. I fully anticipate the cornerbacks and former Bill Donte Whitner to do their best in stealing back possession for their team. It will then be up to the eleven guys on offense to score touchdowns and grab a large
lead. Executing is something I can see happening for this unit.
Conclusion: In another contest that will be difficult to predict, the Browns will have their work cut out for them. This contest will again require a team effort, but I am not certain all three phases will come up big on Sunday. It may come down to one possession; can the visitors make the big play?