First and foremost, can anyone out there run the ball? The Browns need you. Strap on your pads. Conversely, the Texans are coming into this game with a finally-healthy-looking Arian Foster. Gack. The Browns’ defense continue to struggle against the run–and apparently throws to the tackle-eligible–but is also still keeping the team in games long enough to illustrate that their offense if just garbage. Progress?
The Texans are seventh in the league in yards per game, and are scoring almost 26 points per game. It’s going to hinge on the Browns’ defense’s ability to keep them in check. Houston is also fourth in the league in rushing yards per game. D’oh! Cleveland is catching a possible break with WR Andre Johnson questionable with a bum hamstring, but even still they have their work cut out for them. Without further ado…
The Browns Will Win If…
Editor’s note: Similar to the pats weeks, we have started things off with sharing some takes with our audience over at Still WFNY – please feel free to head over to Cleveland.com to partake. We have also invited Daniel Wolf from National Football Authority to contribute to our weekly post. If you haven’t already, check out his website and twitter for Browns news and info. Take it away, Daniel…
Daniel Wolf : …well, let me be honest in saying the Browns will not win now that Peyton Hillis has re-injured his hamstring in Friday’s practice. Maybe Chris Ogbannaya can step up and impresses, but I’m not optimistic. The only way the Browns can win is with their defense, especially since Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson is reportedly out, per ESPN’s John Clayton. Cleveland’s defense needs to shut down running back Arian Foster and hope they can hold the Texans offense to only field goals to give the Browns any chance of winning in Houston.
Scott: …the stars align oh-so perfectly. The Browns pass-rush – specifically the front four – has to attack and execute on a relatively immoblie Matt Schaub. Said quarterback has to not have Andre Johnson to throw the ball to, forcing the passing game inside to the likes of Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter underneath. If the linebacking corps as well as TJ Ward out of the safety spot can focus on the underneath zone while containing Arian Foster, the offense should have a chance to keep things close; half of the battle given the last several weeks of ineptness. Colt McCoy has to have Peyton Hillis back, and both men have to provide their best 60 minutes as a football player in 2011. If a balanced offense is there for the having, it should ultimately open up the outsides for Greg Little, Ben Watson and a returning Mohammed Massaquoi. Then it comes all the way back to that pesky execution thing. Nothing we have seen to this point would lead us to believe it’s possible. Pat Shurmur and Company have to change that and do so this Sunday.
DP: …they can somehow slow down the Texans’ running game, while getting Peyton Hillis back and imposing some running game will of their own. If Andre Johnson doesn’t play, that will help the Browns’ passing defense. However, if Arian Foster can get going, it may not matter. To help alleviate those concerns, the Browns can get a shot in the arm if Hillis is able to play, gets some carries, and can grind out some offense on the ground. Behind him, it’s slim pickings for the running game, and the passing game has been pretty stagnant as well.
Rick: …Andre Johnson doesn’t play for starters. The WR has been injured and is still listed as day-to-day. Let’s face it, when in a battle it helps if the enemy is short on weapons. The Browns will have to contain Houston’s running game, as mentioned by others, but I think we know what we will get from the defense. They will play hard and keep Cleveland within striking distance. It is on the offense (again) to deliver something. The offensive line will be tested, and you can bet that Houston will attempt to bring more pressure to keep McCoy off balance. (It has worked for everyone else.) If Hillis isn’t able to play, will the new duo of running backs be able to pick up the blitz? What happens if Ogbonnaya goes down? It just doesn’t look good.
What say, there, fuzzy britches?