The Browns are coming off a stellar 2020 season and with the new schedule out the expectations are high and the “Dawg Pound” is expecting another playoff run. With that being said, let’s take a look at the match-up between the Browns and their week four opponent, the Minnesota Vikings.
The Browns will be traveling to the Vikings after their week three game against the Chicago Bears. This will be an early test for the Browns as they have the entire NFC North division this season. To say that the Browns are serious about building a new team dynasty is an understatement. The Browns have bolstered their defense in more ways than one. Mainly their strengthening of the secondary, which was the lone weak point of the defense. Yes, at one point the Browns led the league in turnovers but they fizzled out midway through the season. The addition of new DE Jadeveon Clowney helps out the line as well as new linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah who is a needed addon to make what was already a great front seven even scarier than before.
On the offensive side, everything remains intact. Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt return to the backfield to complement quarterback Baker Mayfield. Wide receiver O’Dell Beckham Jr. returns to the receiving core after recovering from a torn ACL last season and he seems even more determined and focused than ever.
The Vikings, on the other hand, struggled last season especially on defense as they couldn’t stop a high-powered offense. That was a very troubling issue for the offense as in most games the Vikings played from behind. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will have his hands full this game as his offensive line is a weak point that the Browns and defensive coordinator Joe Woods will look to exploit early and often.
Both teams finished third in their respective divisions, but clearly, the Browns showed all season they were playing better football. The Vikings were a better road team (4-4) than they were at home (3-5). The Browns, on the other hand, were at home (6-2) and on the road (5-3). Showing that they were clearly on a mission to prove that this isn’t the same old Browns.
I hate to sound like a tape recorder, but let’s keep in mind that the Browns averaged 39 ppg, which could cause a serious problem for the Vikings. Having to stop Beckham, Landry, Hooper, Chubb and Hunt is not an easy task. Baker will have options and not knowing where the ball will be or who has the ball will be the issue for the Vikings. The Browns were one of the best play-action teams in the league and I don’t expect that to change this season. Also, expect the Browns to continue their reputation of being the best 1-2 rushing attack in the league.
FINAL PREDICTION: If the Vikings don’t stop the run this will be a long day. Baker thrives on the play-action and he has targets to pick the Vikings apart. The Vikings put up a good first-quarter fight, but it goes downhill after that. 43-13, BROWNS!