I’m always watching. Two weeks ago, the Browns beat the Bengals 32-13 and last week the Dolphins beat the Bears 35-32. This Sunday at 1:00pm (EST) Cleveland travels to Hard Rock Stadium to take on Miami. Head coach Kevin Stefanski is 2-0 in games after the bye. In 2020 Cleveland beat the Texans 10-7 and in 2021 they beat the Ravens 24-22. The only difference in those games is they were played in Cleveland. What am I watching this week?
Browns Offense Vs. Dolphins Defense. Miami’s defense is 23rd in total defense, 25th in scoring, 15th in run defense, 23rd in third-down defense and 29th in red zone defense. Their strength is their defensive line and edge rushers. They play a 3-4 with Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis and Emmanuel Ogbah on the line and linebackers Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb and Melvin Ingram provide the pass rush. They blitz 41% of the time on pass plays. Their weakness is their secondary. Four of their defensive backs give up a QBR of over 100. They’ve given up 300 yards passing four times and they are 29th in turnovers. To add to that, their linebackers aren’t good in coverage. Miami’s best corner is their slot corner, Kader Kohou, but he’s an undrafted rookie out of Texas A&M Commerce University and is 5′ 10″. I expect the Browns to have the same offensive game plan against the Dolphins that they did against the Bengals. Miami plays man-to-man in the secondary about 40% of the time, so wide receivers David Bell and Donovan Peoples-Jones should make good targets. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is coming off of back-to-back games averaging 250+ yards and two touchdowns, the first Browns quarterback to do that in the expansion era. Finally, give running back Nick Chubb at least 30 carries, running back Kareem Hunt at least 15, throw in a few designed quarterback runs and no turnovers.
Browns Defense Vs. Dolphins Offense. Miami’s passing offense is second in the NFL and their offense is fifth overall. They don’t run the ball often (averaging 87 yards per game) because they don’t need to. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is a top-ten quarterback in the league who has plenty of receiving weapons. It all starts with wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who in two games against the Browns has 19 receptions for 307 yards. Besides Hill (76 receptions, 1104 yards and three touchdowns), Tagovailoa also has wide receiver Jaylin Waddle (47 receptions for 812 yards and six touchdowns) and tight end Mike Gesicki (22 receptions for 238 yards and four touchdowns). The Dolphins offensive line has given up seventeen sacks, but almost half (eight) were when Tagovailoa started. The weak spots on Miami’s offensive line are the right tackle (Austin Jackson) and left guard (Robert Jones). The Browns will need to pressure and contain as they did against Baltimore and be creative with their blitzes. The Browns defensive line will have to force Tagovailoa into making mistakes. With linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah ruled out, Sione Takitaki will again have to step up. In the secondary, defensive coordinator Joe Woods will have to disguise his safety coverage as he did against the Bengals. Finally, the defense will need to win the turnover battle. The Browns special teams will have to be better than average, the Dolphins blocked a punt for a touchdown against the Bears.
The Browns are rested and have right guard Wyatt Teller and cornerback Denzel Ward returning from injuries. This is the best offense the Browns have played all year and the defense has to pressure the quarterback and tackle. Don’t be surprised if it sounds like a home game, Browns fans are showing up in force. Enjoy the game.