Against my better judgement, I’m always watching. However, I’ve never felt the need to turf the field at FirstEnergy Stadium in a golf cart. Let’s see about next week. Last week the Browns lost to the Bills in Detroit, 31-23 and the Buccaneers beat the Seahawks in Germany, 21-16. Tampa has won two games in a row on the arm of quarterback Tom Brady and a renewed running game. What am I watching?
Browns Offense Vs. Buccaneer Defense. Tampa’s defense is currently ranked eighth in the league, allowing 310 total yards, 193 yards passing, 117 yards rushing and 18 points per game. They’re led in tackles by linebacker Devin White with 76 and he also has five sacks. Defensive tackle Vita Vea leads the Bucs in sacks with 6.5. Tampa plays very good defense and when they win the turnover margin, they win the game. Because the Browns are playing their third string center, the Browns offensive line has to help control Vea, which means both guards will have to help with Tampa’s pressure up the middle. Offensively, the Browns just need to continue to do what they’ve been doing, minus drive killing penalties and turnovers. When the Browns win the turnover margin, they win the game. I was glad to see the screen pass game return against the Bills, but the Browns went away from it in the second half. The Browns also win when RB Nick Chubb gets at least 20 carries. If Tampa gets the ball first in the second half, the Browns need to control the clock late in the first half and score. The one knock on Devin white is he’s not good in coverage, so that should open up the middle of the field. Tampa cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting allows an 80% completion rate and a 110 opponent QBR. Try and get WR Amari Cooper matched up on him. The Browns offense is ranked fourth in the league averaging 378 total yards, 277 yards passing, 151 yards rushing and 24 points per game.
Browns Defense Vs. Buccaneers Offense. Tampa’s offense is ranked seventeenth in the league averaging 341 total yards, 270 yards passing, 71 yards rushing and 18.3 points per game. Their offense starts and ends with quarterback Tom Brady. When the Buccaneers average more than 100 yards rushing, he is 19-2, 15-13 since 2020 when they average less than 100 yards rushing. Brady is 2-0 when he attempts forty passes. Tampa is 0-2 versus the AFC North and both those games were road games. The Buccaneers’ rushing attack is last in the NFL, as is their four rushing touchdowns. Unfortunately for Cleveland, Tampa found their running game last week against the Seahawks behind rookie Rachaad White, who had 22 carries for 105 yards. The Browns will again start Sione Takitaki at middle linebacker. The Browns have to stop the run, they have to. Tom Brady does not play well when he’s pressured up the middle. Cleveland needs to move their defensive linemen around to find the best way to pressure Brady. The Tampa passing offense is based on a short passing game because they don’t have a wide receiver who can run past the defense. The safeties will have to play closer to the line of scrimmage and the linebackers will have to help in coverage and with pressure. Brady has seen every defensive scheme in his career, so fooling him will be difficult. The special teams have to just play average and not cost the Browns the game.
This will be quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s last start for the Browns barring injury. He’s played better than expected and probably earned a nice offseason contract with another team. Possibly a starting spot. After 10 games he’s rated sixth in the league in QBR and he deserved a better won lost record. Enjoy the game.