In the estimation of most fans, the Cleveland Browns have a huge game coming up against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Calling it huge may be overdoing it just a bit, yet the Browns are favored on the road for the first time in what seems like eons. I prefer to look at this one as winnable. In fact, I believe the Browns have an excellent chance of emerging as victors in each of their next three games. Do I think they’ll win all three? Maybe. They can certainly get there with a few key improvements to their performance, especially when you take into consideration their upcoming foes.
Browns Record To 1-2
The Indianapolis Colts will be led by former Patriot, Jacoby Brissett, who started week two for the Colts. Brissett was unspectacular in completing 22 of 40 passes for 267 yards and a pick. Indy will likely focus on their short passing game against the Browns. Tight end Jack Doyle has been their top receiver so far. The Colts rank 24th or lower in rushing yards, passing yards and points. Their offense has sputtered worse than the Browns offense. While the Colts have had some success stopping the run, their passing defense is bad enough to make up for the deficit.
Despite that fact that the Indianapolis Colts appear to have a stout rushing defense, the Browns need to establish the run this week. The offensive line has had two games to work out some kinks and become a unit. It’s time to show that the line can be elite. In addition, the Browns need a wide receiver or two not named Rashard Higgins to be vested in the outcome of this game. Kenny Britt and Sammy Coates, if active, need to bring their lunch pails this Sunday and not worry about messing up their manicures by touching a ball. On defense, the Browns need to utilize their safeties and linebackers to stop the intermediate passes the Colts will be attempting all day long. If the Browns can execute in these areas, they’ll have a chance to control the game both offensively and defensively.
Browns Record To 2-2
The Browns will host the slumping Bengals October 1st. The Bengals have an array of offensive weapons, on paper. Unfortunately, this juggernaut offense has yet to score a touchdown in two home games this season. After being blanked by Baltimore in their opener 20-0, the Bengals lost 13-9 to the Texans in one of the uglier prime-time matchups you’ll ever be forced to watch. There is no relief in sight for the mighty Bengals as they face the daunting task of traveling to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field Sunday to likely be thrashed by the Packers. Well, maybe it’s not frozen quite yet, but it won’t be very inviting to Cincinnati.
The Bengals do boast a very credible defense, so the Browns will have to find a way to score points in this one. The Bengals Achilles heel has been a combination of poor offensive line play and equally poor QB play. Of course, we know in Cleveland that the former generally leads to the latter. If their line comes together, the Bengals offense could awaken. The Browns defense must prevent that from happening. Eliminate any chance of feeling encouraged from this struggling Bengals team and the Browns could wind up with an easy and somewhat unexpected win.
Browns Record To 3-2
October 8 will bring the New York Jets to town. That should be enough information for everyone to feel comfortable with a win. Let’s face it, even people who live in the wilderness off the grid know that the Jets are tanking this season. They did virtually nothing in the offseason to improve a bad team. Granted, the did beat the Browns last season in a game which I saw from the stands. Don’t let that fool you. If the Jets are up at the half in this one, there will be wholesale changes like you haven’t seen since the baseball All-Star game. This team wants and needs the top quarterback in the draft whether it’s Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen or someone else. If the Browns lose this one, they will have truly succeeded in shocking the world.
I know that Ravens loss was ugly, but hang in there Cleveland! Better times are coming and they start Sunday.
Rod Bluhm is the Browns Content Manager and a Senior Writer for CST
Follow the author: @CSTRodB