Five Ways to Make the Colts Unlucky
The Browns have only beat the Colts once since returning back to the league, and that was with a washed-up Kerry Collins under center. Alas, they now stand in the way of the Browns’ playoff chances. A win will require a tremendous effort by the home squad – and little to no mistakes. Here are five things the Browns can do to seal the upset.
#1 – Don’t Give Any Extra Opportunities
Not turning the ball over to Andrew Luck is a given, but the Browns cannot afford to go three-and-out frequently either. It will be key when the offense is in their own territory, to drive it down the field to keep the Colts’ offense off the field. The opponent is relatively in the middle of the pack in terms of defensive rankings, while they lead the league in passing yards. Who do you feel more comfortable with the Browns facing?
#2 – Time for the Secondary to Step Up
This refers to all members of the unit for the Browns. Joe Haden, Buster Skrine, and Donte Whitner have had their moments this season – however every guy must play well. Can Jim Leonhard and Jordan Poyer fill in admirably for Tashaun Gipson? That will be the focal point for this matchup, as well as the continued development of rookies K’Waun Williams and Justin Gilbert. Luck has shown his knack for finding the open guy – not matter who it is. That means all hands on deck for the secondary.
#3 – Attack via the Run
In the dominating performance by the Patriots by the Colts, Jonas Gray toted the ball for over 200 yards and four scores. While it has not been the norm against the Browns’ foe, the ability to gash the blue and white still exists. The game plan ought to center around Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell getting ample opportunities on Sunday (to the tune of at least thirty carries combined). As with all games, being successful there will help with other facets of the team.
#4 – Beware of Josh Cribbs
The MVP of the Browns for many years will now be on the opposing sidelines in this contest. You better believe he will have a chip on his shoulder, and will look for another opportunity to find the end zone at First Energy Stadium. Doing so, and this contest could be out of hand early. The special teams must ensure that Cribbs has zero chance to find an open seam and makes his former team pay.
#5 – Get Seven over Three
While in Atlanta, the Browns were able to get away with a few field goals in the red zone – when they had opportunities to score a touchdown. The Falcons do present a solid offense, but nothing like the gang that they will face this week. It is imperative for the Browns to score touchdowns at every opportunity and mistakes in the red zone cannot occur. If they achieve this, I really like their chances in this matchup.
Conclusion: This is likely the toughest game at home for the Browns all season long. Many are expecting the guests to come in, flex their muscles, and leave with an easy victory. However, I anticipate the orange and brown to fight for sixty minutes – and let Brian Hoyer guide them to a close win.