No question this will be an interesting game. One one side, you have the young Cleveland Browns who played well for a majority of the game last week against Cincinnati, but blew it at the end to the Bengals. On the other side, you have a veteran team that lost its locker room leader in Peyton Manning and somehow didn’t show up to play last Sunday. Both teams have people that need to step up. For the Colts, it’s their veterans and for the Browns it’s their coaches.
Cleveland Offense/Defense: On offense, the Browns showed promise but ultimately fell flat. They got a decent performance from Colt McCoy considering the lack of protection and the dropped passes. For the Browns to win, they have to run it down Indy’s throat and the O-Line has to open holes for Hillis while containing both the Colts lethal pass rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
The Browns need to stop the pass and force Kerry Collins to turn the ball over. Cleveland can contain the run game like they contained Benson (until he scored on a play with few defenders on the weak side). Joe Haden needs to be a shut down player again on Colts WR Reggie Wayne so Collins relies on his other receivers (Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark). The Browns should also generate solid pressure and can dominate Indianapolis.
Colts Offense/Defense: On offense, it rests on the shoulders of Kerry Collins. He needs to bounce back for them to win. Collins and Reggie Wayne had a good day against Houston, but the rest of the targets have to step up. Austin Collie didn’t have any catches while Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark were average at best.
The Colts’ athletic linebackers will give McCoy fits in coverage, but they need to wrap up Peyton Hillis. Hillis is a human wrecking ball who will wreck the undersized Colts LB (all of whom he outweighs) if they don’t wrap up properly.
Unfortunately, their MLB Gary Brackett will be out which makes them even more susceptible to Hillis. While Freeney will get shut down by Joe Thomas, Mathis figures to have a great day because the Browns RT positions sucks.
Special Teams: The Browns signed Brad Maynard, a solid veteran who won’t have multiple 20 yard shanks. The Colts gave up 30 yards on punt returns (including a TD) and 46 yards kick returns. The Colts historically have had poor ST coverage and Josh Cribbs just had a great game against Cincinnati.
The Browns might have won with solid punting, but penalties were just as devastating. Pat Shurmur cracked down in the 2nd half and needs to establish discipline for a whole game. I’ve been a Dick Jauron defender but he and his defensive unit had a bad game Sunday. Those Browns defender and Jauron’s scheme are directly to blame for the AJ Green TD and he just flat out called a bad play on the Benson TD.
The Colts have good coaching, the players just didn’t come to play. This is a veteran team and while they lost their leader, they still have veterans Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney and Jeff Saturday. They need to pick up the slack in the locker room and get this team ready to play.
Prediction: Browns win 20-17.
Cribbs will have an early return TD and the lead will allow Hillis to wear down the Colts D.
About the Author
Written by Bradley Ross
Bradley Ross was born and lived most of his life in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. He grew up with a passion for sports and Cleveland teams, instilled in him by his father. He is currently studying Business/Journalism at Cuyahoga Community College and plans on transferring to the Ohio State University in the winter with an expected graduation date of 2013. He is currently a Staff Writer for the Tri-C Voice Newspaper, which was a recipient of an award for the best non-daily newspaper at a 2 year college (northeast region). He runs multiple blogs off of the blogger platform including The Take By The Lake, a sports blog. Sports is his passion and he enjoys being able to write about them and cover them. He also enjoys improvisational humor, long walks on the beach, and writing in the 3rd person. Follow him on Twitter @BRoss_Voice.