The Browns found a new way to lose a game this past week, botching a 22-yard field goal in crunch time to drop an ugly one to the Rams. Coming to town this week are the Jacksonville Jaguars, whom the Browns are playing for the third straight season.
The Jags, much like the Browns, are sitting at 3-6, but one of those wins came against the dreadful Colts last Sunday. The Jags had lost six of seven (a strange 12-7 MNF win over the Ravens) before their win last Sunday. This game looks to be ugly; the Browns are actually *better* on offense in terms of yards/game than are the Jags. The Browns sit at 294.1 yards (30th), and the Jags are at 243.6 (32nd). Ugh. The difference? The Jags are 11th in the league in running the ball. So, there that is. 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.
Daniel Wolf (National Football Authority): …Coach Shurmur can continue to be creative on offense and cater to the talent he has available. The last two minutes of the Rams game and the questionable play calling in the red zone aside, the majority of the game plan against the Rams was the best I’ve seen all season. Colt McCoy also had his best game in 2011 too. He might not have thrown any touchdowns, but the looked comfortable and in control, like he did in 2010. It is obvious to use shotgun more and possibly more Wildcat. The fact Shurmur has told the media (many times) that he would stick to his scheme and not use the Wildcat or shotgun much, but is now starting too, shows he is growing and learning as a head coach. Many are calling for his head, but Shurmur is hopefully growing and the Browns will win against the Jaguars if this growth continues.
Scott: …the defense can carry their pass-rush from the second half of last week and the offense finishes the sandwich. Colt McCoy was a totally different quarterback last week – shotgun, comfort, longer throws – and should have added a few tally marks to the confidence column. Here’s hoping that the Browns offensive coaching staff allows him to continue doing just that; I fear that Shurmur felt more obligated to break out the surpriselike trechanary against his old employer. Let’s see what McCoy has: decsion-making, improvisation, the whole gambit. Oh, and Ryan Pontbriand, Alex Mack, Brad Maynard and Phil Dawson, don’t think about last week. You guys will be just fine.
Craig: …they start fast on defense. The Browns’ defense has been very good this year, but they always seem to get better as the game goes along. They need to fire out of the gate putting pressure on Blaine Gabbert and keeping Maurice Jones-Drew in check. The only way the Browns have a chance to score enough points to win is if they don’t give the Jags any kind of lead that they can try and sit on. The Browns offense isn’t a come-from-behind offense as we all know. Defensive or special teams scores will help too, but just keeping the Jags scoreless on their first couple drives gives the Browns their best chance to try and establish some rhythm and / or chemistry.
Brendan: …and only if Pat Shurmur is fired between now and 1:00 PM on Sunday – and Urban Meyer is installed as Browns head coach.
Kirk: …they score a first quarter touchdown. Nine games in and nothing but a couple of field goals in the first quarter. Get the ball, march down the field, and put the ball in the endzone. I don’t care how they get there, and I certainly don’t know how they’ll get there, but it has to be done. Chris Ogbonnaya impressed me last week with nearly 90 yards rushing; perhaps, he can put up a repeat performance if Montario Hardesty can’t give it a go. Colt McCoy moved the ball last Sunday and found some different targets. Colt needs to find Greg Little on another deep ball, but this time it needs to go for a score. Shurmur kept the Rams on their toes with the extra touches for Cribbs and the trick play. I hope he has another one up his sleeve (throw back to Colt, anybody?). Defensively, Jayme Mitchell should be back, so let’s see if the defensive line can get some pressure on Gabbert. The Browns will struggle to keep Jones-Drew in check, so I’ll be satisfied if they let him go for less than 110 yards. Trick plays, forcing turnovers, and getting off to a good start: all things a team short on talent needs to win.
Andrew: …they realize this might be their last good chance at a win this season. Seriously, doesn’t this team have to come out and play a good game at some point? The law of averages would seem to indicate that somehow this team is due to come out and play inspired football and put together a quality win. To do this, the run defense of the Browns needs to get dramatically better. If they can keep MJD in check to some degree, I actually think the Browns can and will win this game. I don’t know why, but I just think this team is going to play well this week. This is some good Kool-Aid.
What say, there, fuzzy britches?