Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brown Sunday

The Browns are facing the Bizzaro Browns this Sunday on the shores of Lake Erie. Why are the Buffalo Bills the Bizzaro Browns? The Browns over the past few weeks (and most of the season) have played teams which they are far superior to talent wise yet struggle to eek out victory after victory. The Bills on paper have very few talented players but play hard and stay in every game. They stand at 7-6, but are a few missed field goals away from 10-3. A win for the Browns puts them in the driver's seat for they play-offs and eliminates the Bills hopes for the post season.

Rookie RB Marshawn Lynch returns from injury this week and if not for Adrian Peterson, he would be the rookie talk of the league. Well, him and Joe Thomas. Lynch appears to be a complete back, equipped with both power and speed, but it remains to be seen how he win react after being out for a few games. Another rookie, QB Trent Edwards, doesn't do anything flashy, but minimizes turnover and runs an efficient game. But the Bills still rank 28th in total offense and average on 173 yards per game passing. But add in the Browns porous secondary and you never know what can happen.

The Bills defense is nothing to write home about either, ranking a meager 30th in the NFL but still two better than the Browns 32nd ranked unit. They give up over 250 yards a game via the pass, a weakness the Browns are hoping to exploit. They don't force opponents to punt much, but when they do, look out for stellar PR Roscoe Parrish, who averages over 17 yards a return.

The formula for the Browns is simple. Take advantage of the the Bills porous pass defense, build a lead and then have Jamal Lewis pound the Bills into submission. This is the formula all good teams use. The Bills CBs are all under 6' tall, something than Braylon and Joe J should exploit. The Bills don't have much of a pass rush and with the way the O-Line has been playing I expect they won't have one on Sunday either. The Browns desperately need to get Kellen Winslow back involved in the game as he has been way to quiet over the past two games. The burden one again falls on DA to make some big plays when they are there, take what the defense gives him when they are not and to eliminate turnovers from the equation. It's been a while since he has been able to do all three in the same game.

On Defense the Browns need to continue to build on their performances over the past few weeks. Keep generating a pass rush, confuse Trent Edwards into rushing his decisions and force some key turnovers. The defense is improving, but it still is a liability and does not have the talent to dominate the game. Todd Grantham needs to keep being aggressive, mixing in some blitzes while disguising coverages to take advantage of the rookie QB. Eric Wright should be back this week so he and the other DBs should be focused on neutralizing WR Lee Evans while lending run support to the LBs. If the D can create enough havoc, they Browns may be able to exploit the Bills below average offense.

This isn't a big game. This isn't a must win. This is a statement game. The Browns have tiptoed, eeked, stolen, stumbled and lucked their way into more than a few victories this year. Most of them over inferior opponents that they struggled to put away. The Browns have yet to truly manhandle an inferior team all year. That time has come. The day is Sunday. The place is Cleveland, Ohio. The recipient is the Buffalo Bills. It's time for the Cleveland Browns to lay the smackdown and make a statement. The statement that they are for real and they are here to stay. I'm not looking for a Black Sunday. I'm looking for a Brown Sunday.

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