How to Beat the Raiders – Five Keys for the Browns
The Browns played three excellent quarters of football last week en route to their first victory. I saw many areas of the team play much better than in New Jersey. The blueprint against Oakland is pretty similar to last week’s; including wreaking havoc on the opposing signal caller when he drops back to pass. Let’s look further into the five areas the Browns need to succeed at in order to win.
1 – Keep Building off that Run Game
I want to see the rushing attack of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson continue to improve on a weekly basis. Giving them multiple attempts is the way to go, and that blueprint worked against the Titans. The coaching staff will likely advise the duo to stray away from Khalil Mack – as the outside linebacker can make things difficult for the runners. However, if both Crowell and Johnson can give fans a reason to cheer and move the ball on the ground – the Browns will have a good chance to win on Sunday.
2 – Find another Viable Receiver
So far Travis Benjamin has been the only threat at the wide out spot. While that is great for him and this offense, someone else needs to step up and help this unit out. Teams will begin to double cover Benjamin, and if no one can provide a spark – then the Browns’ offense will sputter. I am pulling for Brian Hartline to make his mark on contests; hopefully he can get it going against the Raiders.
3 – Improve that Run Defense
If it weren’t for a couple of errors committed by the opposition last Sunday, the Browns’ defense would have been on the hook for the defeat. Once again they surrendered over 100 yards on the ground, primarily to a guy who is not a true running back (Dexter McCluster). I am fearful of what Latavius Murray will do to the front seven but maybe they are on the path of marked improvement as well.
4 – Win the Turnover Margin
The formula is pretty simple; don’t turn over the ball and the Browns’ chances of winning increase significantly. In week one the Browns let the Jets take the ball away five times (and lost), while they did not commit any turnover against the Titans and win. As are many things in the NFL, it begins and ends at the quarterback position. If the Browns’ signal caller can protect the ball from defenders in the pocket and only throw it to his teammates – the offense will have likely done its job.
5 – Let them Commit Penalties
Much like the point above, penalties are a cut-and-dry area for this football team. Refraining from infractions (primarily by the offense) is a gigantic key for a victory. Allowing the opponent to make mistakes and either take them out of scoring range or put their defense in a tough spot should be a critical game play for the Browns’
coaching staff. The athletes showed their discipline last contest, I anticipate that this will carry over against Oakland.
Conclusion: The Browns are not an easy team to read and expectations can easily ebb and flow during every contest. If they get back to the fundamentals and execute them properly, Derek Carr and the Raiders should do their part in committing an error. Traveling west to east and playing in the early time slot should only help the Browns as well, but a lot has to go right before they come out with a 2 – 1 record.