Browns Playoff Watch
After ten weeks of action, the Cleveland Browns stand alone at the top of the division with a 6-3 record. At times the team has struggled, its worse loss being the season ending injury to Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. The Browns looked horrible in a defeat by the winless Jagaurs, but have also looked phenomenal in divisional victories against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals.
As of recent standings, Cleveland would be the fourth seed in the playoffs. The two wild card spots are currently held by the Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) and the Bengals (5-3-1). Lurking in the shadows with the playoffs in their sights are Pittsburgh (6-4), Baltimore (6-4), San Diego (5-4), Buffalo (5-4), and Miami (5-4).
Some of the week 11 matchups are intriguing and could shake up the playoff picture.
Houston @ Cleveland: The Texans hope to turn things around after a bye week and a quarterback change, to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Browns will counter as they’ll try to prove they’re serious contenders coming off their manhandling of Cincinnati. Cleveland’s defense must contain or at least slow down Arian Foster. The offensive line also has a grueling task as they must tame the beast called J.J. Watt. Additionally, Ben Tate returns to Houston wanting more touches against his former team.
Cincinnati @ New Orleans: The Bengals are coming off a tough divisional loss, and the Saints also lost in overtime at home to San Francisco. Drew Brees should return to form as they host a Bengals team that struggles on the road (3-5 last year, 1-2 this year). The ground game should be in full effect as Giovanni Bernard is expected back and Mark Ingram is becoming a threat. Both teams have struggled on both sides of the ball and intend to right the ship.
Pittsburgh @ Tennessee: Are you ready for some Monday Night Football? The Steelers should rebound after a surprising loss to the New York Jets. Big Ben may not record six touchdowns, but he should lead his team to more than 13 points. The Titans should hope to be competitive as they rest their success on a young offensive core including two rookies, Zach Mettenberger (QB) and Bishop Sankey (RB). Tennessee is trying to snap a three game skid and move forward.
Oakland @San Diego: The Raiders are still searching for that first victory as they endure the growing pains of rookie Derek Carr. San Diego, on the other hand, is coming off a bye week and trying to avoid losing four games in a row. The Chargers anticipates the return of Ryan Mathews to shape up their running game. The Bolts should be on their heels as Oakland has nothing to lose, making them a dangerous team. San Diego may try to pour it on as they were recently shut out by Miami, 37-0.
Seattle @ Kansas City: Throughout 2014, the defending Super Bowl champions don’t appear to have the championship formula as the defense has softened and the offense has been inconsistent. The Seahawks should rely on Marshawn Lynch, coming off a 140 yard, four touchdown performance. This is the premiere matchup as the Chiefs have yet to surrender a rushing touchdown. Kansas City was off to a slow 1-4 start, but has won four straight since. The Chiefs must keep the ball out of Russell Wilson’s hands by running the ball with Jamaal Charles.
Buffalo @ Miami: Both teams look to rebound from tough four point losses. They compete for sole possession of second place in their division and to keep their playoff hopes alive. Buffalo hopes to get Fred Jackson back from a groin injury and will rely on him to run the clock. The Bills demolished the Dolphins 29-10, back in week two. Since that time, Miami has turned things around and is looking for revenge. Both defensive lines will attack the quarterback as the Bills lead the league with 34 sacks, but Miami isn’t far behind with 28.