I frankly don’t know what to make of the Browns. They have some talented players and are the only team that’s beaten the Giants this year, giving the G-men a 35-14 trouncing. They’ve also looked pretty bad, as in their 16-6 loss to Houston. On paper, they look like they have as much talent as last year’s 10-6 team, yet they’re struggling at 4-8 this season.
Last week they lost a close one to the Colts 10-6. The Browns held Peyton Manning to 125 passing yards, no touchdowns and a lowly 46.8 passer rating. Sean Jones and Brandon McDonald each picked off Manning. They held the Colts to 90 yards rushing and a 3.1 yards per carry average. It’s hard to tell how much of that was due to good defense and how much of it was just a bad day by Manning and the Colts offense. The Browns didn’t show much out of their 3-4 and looked pretty vanilla for the most part.
Their defense isn’t as good as the other 3-4 defenses in the league but they are ninth in the NFL in scoring defense.
Nose tackle Shaun Rogers is a stud and inside LB D’Qwell Jackson is having a great year with 115 tackles. Keep an eye on those two guys. The Browns can be run on, though. They’re 26th in the league in stopping the run.
The Brownies didn’t show much offense at all against the Colts, scoring only two field goals. Cleveland hasn’t scored a touchdown in the last two games.
They’re now down to their third quarterback, six-year veteran Ken Dorsey. Titans fans may remember him as the 49ers quarterback when they came to town in 2005. In that game, which Tennessee won 33-22, Dorsey was 23 of 43 for 192 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. I mainly remember that game for Brandon Jones tearing his ACL and Steve McNair having a big day.
In the Browns-Colts game, I was surprised to see Dwight Freeney successfully bull rush Joe Thomas, resulting in the forced fumble for the only Colts touchdown. Thomas is a good young tackle and probably has over 50 pounds on Freeney. It’s all about technique, isn’t it? It will be interesting to watch the matchup between Thomas and Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Look for Pro Bowl returner Joshua Cribbs to take an occasional direct snap in a spread formation. He was a quarterback in college, so he could also fill in there if Dorsey is injured.
Based on his play this year, I was completely wrong in thinking Donte’ Stallworth would have made a good free agent acquisition for the Titans. He has only 13 receptions for 126 yards for the Browns this year, a paltry 9.7 yard average.
TE Kellen Winslow is injured and won’t play. Leading receiver Braylon Edwards has all the talent in the world but is inconsistent, displaying hands of stone at inopportune times.
Statistically, the Brownies offense looks pretty bad. They’re 23rd in rushing (106 ypg), 27th in scoring (17.8 ppg) and in total offense (275 ypg), and 29th in passing (170 ypg).
This has all the makings of a low-scoring game, especially for the Browns. I believe the Titans can run against this 3-4 defense and put some points on the board. Cleveland will have to rely for the most part on Jamal Lewis to give them some offense rushing the ball and the Titans should be able to contain him. If the Browns score a touchdown, it probably won’t be by their offense.