Earning another Division Win – What Must Happen

Browns @ Bengals – Five Ways to Recreate the Magic from 2014 

Nearly a year ago, the Browns headed to Paul Brown Stadium looking to be in first place in the AFC North. They came away with a convincing victory, however we remember how the rest of the season went. Can the team put up a similar type of performance again in 2015? It is unlikely, but if they can secure the five things below then there’s a shot.

#1 – Put Dalton in a Tough Spot

For most of his career, Andy Dalton has shrunk in crunch time situations in the NFL. The Browns have to make him drop back consistently looking to pass – and disrupt his timing on as many attempts as possible. This would likely lead to errant throws, a healthy secondary should help with improved coverage. If this secondary plays up to their capabilities, then they should make the opposing signal caller pay.

#2 – Hope the Bengals forget How to Rush 

Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard will likely get ample touches in this contest – however, maybe the Bengals’ coaching staff will look to have a pass-first game plan. I anticipate these guys will get several carries early; hopefully the Browns can stuff the run both in the first and second half in this contest. Otherwise there will be a heavy dose of ground and pound by the home team. 

#3 – Understand the Magnitude

This is another divisional game and a victory is critical for success in the NFL. The entire organization must understand that they have to be the best player, coach, associate, etc. this Thursday night to get a win. I hope this lofts the play of everyone on the visiting sideline; they frankly cannot win games on luck and hope.

#4 – Fight the Urge to Pass

The Browns have been somewhat successful getting yards through the air; the same cannot be said for the rushing attack. However, I have a feeling that Robert Turbin’s improved play will propel the orange and brown in the run game. The key will be hitting those longer runs early in the contest – giving the opposition something to think about all contest long.

#5 – Earn Every Yard

This will be a physical battle and the margin for error for the Browns is extremely minimal. They cannot afford being put in situations to punt on fourth down and one or two yards to gain – therefore they must fight each time to move the sticks. On the other side of the ball, if they can corral Hill on third down and short situations – then the orange and brown might have a chance.

Conclusion: I desperately want to see the Cleveland Browns be victorious – I despise the overrated opponent and feel they are beatable. But there are many things that must go right first, and I am not certain that the team can achieve each of these. Therefore, this year’s game will likely not resemble what occurred last year in Cincinnati.

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