Five Keys to Victory – Browns vs. Cincinnati
Well, the Browns (no matter how bad they are) still have to go out and play games within their division. Last month, the team was defeated handily to their in-state rival to the south. This Sunday, the teams match up once again – this time in Cleveland. Can the Browns pull a huge upset? Well, if they could accomplish a handful of things listed below, their chances could increase.
#1 – Thwart their Momentum
Following a pair of consecutive defeats, the Bengals are coming off of a drubbing of the Rams at home last week. Therefore, the visitors will have confidence – and the Browns must remove their opponent’s positive mentality and quickly. This task will not be easily, but if the home team can come out and get a lead early, then perhaps they will have a puncher’s chance in this matchup.
#2 – Tinker with the Offensive Line
No matter what lineup the team has put out on the field this season, the guys upfront have not played nearly up to expectations. With the season over (for all intents and purposes), it would make sense that the coaches figure out who would work best at each spot of the offensive line – mainly the interior three ones. Alex Mack will likely opt out of his contract, so a move that could occur is Cameron Erving at center.
#3 – Get their Coverage Schemes Settled
In addition to the multiple problems in covering wide receivers all year long, the Browns have been susceptible to other targets for the opposition. Tyler Eifert and Gio Bernard are the tight end and running back (respectively) for the visiting squad. The duo can embarrass the Browns’ defense with the ball in open space; therefore getting the best personnel to cover these two is paramount in this contest. They cannot afford to have slow linebackers to blanket explosive personnel for the orange and black.
#4 – Ride the Guy Under Center
With Josh McCown injured, the Browns can turn to Austin Davis – who picked up a few wins last year with the Rams. Maybe it can be time now to see what he’s got in this game. The veteran threw a touchdown last game, and has been in the league long enough to know what it takes to succeed. The game plan should be similar to last one’s – many shorter passes to start with the possibility of a deeper ball.
#5 – About that Run Defense
The task has not been able to be tackled all year long, but nonetheless the Browns must keep Jeremy Hill in check to have a shot in this contest. I would like to think that there is a possibilty this can happen, but the second half of contests have not been kind to this team’s defense. If it requires substitution to keep fresh legs then I am okay with this tactic. However, the guys who are in the game to stop the run must consistently win at the point of attack.
Conclusion: Ugh, I have a really bad feeling about this game for the Cleveland Browns. I would like to see them put it all together and pull out a huge upset, but I cannot envision it occurring on the field. The Bengals should win and rather easily at First Energy Stadium.