As a local market representative and league manager of one of 16 teams invited to be a part of Crown Royal’s inaugural Fantasy Football League dubbed “First and Crown,” I will be using this spot every Sunday before the Browns kick off against their respective opponent to tell you who I’ll be watching during this Week’s contest.
Proving to have more lives than a cat, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden will start his first contest since being sidelined with a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. Weeden stepped in for Brian Hoyer last Thursday after the shifty Cleveland native was forced out of the game with a knee injury. With his team behind the proverbial 8-ball, all the second year quarterback did was provide his best game of the season, completing 13 of 24 passes for 197 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
Weeden was showered with praise following the game and even more verbal accolades by offensive coordinator Norv Turner this past week. But can the momentum continue on as the team hosts the Detroit Lions? Where the Buffalo Bills provided a four-man front with most of their pressure coming from the ends, the Lions will start their defensive attack right up the middle with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley lined up over the guards, an area which just so happens to be the weakest of the Cleveland offensive line. How will Weeden—a player who tends to hold on to the ball—stack up when the pocket begins to collapse? How will he handle the adversity with two athletic monsters flushing him out of his comfort zone?
The Lions secondary is easily one of the weakest the Browns will have faced to this point. As good as their offense has been with Matthew Stafford at the helm, their defense is one of the worst in the league when it comes to yards against, allowing 392 yards per game (ranked 25th overall); two-hundred and sixty-eight of these yards have been allowed through the air (ranked 21st overall). If Weeden can maintain his composure, there’s a good chance that either wide receiver Josh Gordon or tight end Jordan Cameron is open downfield. Given the size and speed of the Lions defensive line, it will also be wise to throw a few screen passes to keep the opposition on their toes. Can Weeden provide the touch needed to execute? It is for these reasons why the Browns quarterback is under the spotlight. He alone will be the difference between 4-2 and a Monday morning of agonizing.
(Image via Rick Grayshock/WFNY)