The Browns have a tough road ahead of them if they hope to get back to .500. They face off against the 5-3 Houston Texans and their high powered offense. The offense may be less high powered than normal. It looks like Andre Johnson will be out of the game and even if he is, he is not going to be that effective. This is good news for the Browns, because they can focus on Arian Foster. Focusing on Foster is easier said than done. This also could be an easier task than one might expect. While he is racking up the yards, his yards per carry is a pretty mediocre 3.9. His backup Ben Tate is still a force to be reckoned with, though he hasn’t seen a lot of action since Foster was fully healthy. The biggest problem on Sunday will be the Browns scoring.
The Houston Defense is much improved. They brought in some big free agents in the secondary and hired a great defensive coordinator in Wade Phillips. While they have lost mario Williams for the season, they are still playing very well on defense. They have been shutting down the opponents passing game and a big part of that is their ability to put pressure on the QB. While Williams is gone, they have been bringing pressure from multiple people including Brooks Reed and Antonio Smith. For the Browns to be able to pass, they need to protect up front, a daunting task. The Browns also need to establish the run with Chris Ogbonnaya early. The Texan’s biggest weakness on D is that teams run well against them.
On offense, Houston is a very solid team, but aren’t as good as last year. The biggest part of that is them missing Andre Johnson. They have not once eclipsed the 300 yard mark in passing since Johnson has been hurt and they haven’t played a lot of good passing Ds during that time. The Browns have one of the better passing Ds in the league with one of the best #1 CBs in Joe Haden. Without Johnson, Haden can effectively shut down whatever other receiver he is guarding, making Schaub’s job hard. Foster is also nothing special. He has been nice, but Ben Tate was better when he was playing in replacement of Foster. This Texans offense is still really good. They can move the ball and put up points, but right now they are not that high powered offense they were before and the Browns D is good enough to limit what they do.
Colt mccoy is definitely going to struggle. the Houston D is good and he has been struggling all year. This would be a perfect week to have Peyton Hillis back or montario Hardesty, but both are sidelined with injuries. It is up to Chris Ogbonnaya to establish the running game. He has been solid since the Browns acquired him but he will need to step it up. Since he did play for Houston, he may have a better knowledge than our other RBs of how to run against this team.
The way this D has played, I am fairly confident about their ability to limit Foster. He hasn’t been at top form all year and they have done a solid job up front. The biggest issue is special teams and offense.
Houston has good special teams, but if you can shut down Jacoby Jones on punt returns, their special teams is only average. The coverage team and kick off return teams are solid, but they aren’t far enough ahead of the Browns that they are going to significantly sway the game. Brad maynard is one of the best directional punters in the league and should be able to keep the ball away from Jones.
Prediction: Texans 23, Browns 16
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.