Ugh. Turkey coma. Good times. Due to Thanksgiving engagements, I am forgoing my trip up to Cleveland for this game. And, for some reason, I’m not all that sad about it. Having gone to so many games over the years, I’ve had the chance to see Peyton Manning shred our defense on more than one occasion. Color me crazy if I don’t want to see it again.
The Colts are hot right now, having won four straight games. Let’s just set this up with some important numbers: Colts total passing: 249.5 ypg (6th NFL). Browns passing defense: 223.7 ypg (20th NFL). Without further ado…
The Browns Will Win If…
Craig: …they run the ball. That’s it. I have no words of wisdom for this week. I have no expectations for anything. I could fake it and say that “it will be interesting to see how this team comes together with another week of adversity,” but I don’t think it will be interesting and I don’t particularly care to see it.
Scott: …Derek Anderson reverts back to pre-contract extension Derek Anderson. If Jamal Lewis/Jerome Harrison/Josh Cribbs combine for about 30 carries. Joe Thomas can bounce back from last week’s game and block Dwight Freeney to give Anderson some time. Braylon Edwards catches the ball and doesn’t commit any bonehead penalties. Shaun Rogers is able to stay on the field during hurry-up offenses. And if our nickel defense can keep up with the three receivers that Manning has as options. All of these have to happen for them to win, yet I’ll be thrilled if any of them do…
DP: …one of two things happens: 1) the weather is SO HORRIBLE that it negates the passing game. Indy is 30th in the league in rushing at just under 79 ypg, thus making them very one-dimensional. 2) The entire Colts offense comes down with a debilatating flu bug right before the game, rendering them all unable to play. The only way I see the Browns winning this game is if there is another Buffalo-game-type blizzard that disrupts Peyton Manning to the point that the Colts have to run the ball, which is something they have not done with any conviction all season. The only other potential bright spot is that the Colts rushing defense is allowing almost 137 ypg, which is good for 25th best in the NFL. Rob Chudzinski is going to have to have learned some humility and is going to have to commit to the run. It’s an area of weakness for the Colts’ D, and the more the Browns run successfully, the longer Peyton and Co. are sitting on the sidelines. All of that having been thoughtfully researched, it will be a miracle if the Browns keep the score within 20 points. Hey ma! Can I get thirds on turkey now??
Editor’s Note: When pressed, Rock had this to say: “Well, I mean, I could say some BS about how if the Browns rally together and make a late season stand and come out playing inspired football, and they get pressure on Manning and make key 3rd down stops against Indy, and if DA summons his inner-2007 self then the Browns just might have a chance… …but none of that is going to happen. I’m really struggling to come up with a realistic scenario where the Browns win this game. All I hear is chirping crickets.”
Rick: …they get pressure on Manning, and preferably up the middle. Shaun Rogers will have to have his best game as a Brown. We all know Manning is probably the best QB at reading defenses, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to blitz. My fear is that the Browns run a couple of early blitzes that Manning reads and they stop trying the rest of the game. The Colts haven’t had a good running game most of the season, but we are still weak defending the run, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they found success on the ground.
Offensively…not to sound like a broken record…but our playmakers have to, well, MAKE SOME PLAYS! It would be nice to see Jamal Lewis get 15-20 carries, and Harrison get a dozen touches. I’d love to see more of Josh Cribbs in the game plan. We all know that this team is only going to win if Derek Anderson has an outstanding game. Yes, he is capable of it. No, I’m not expecting it.
Mike…if they manage to continue their strange trend this year of playing to the level of the competition, post Dallas of course. I’m interested to see if Derek Anderson figured anything out while watching from the sidelines the past few weeks. Now that there is no pressure on the guy, will we see the return of the freewheeling gunslinger we saw the first ten weeks of last season? Maybe, but probably not. Indy is favored by 5 1/2. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Browns keep this one close.
Alright, WFNY. Put down that drumstick long enough to tell us: if you have tickets, are you going to this game? If not, are you watching this game at home? If you answered “yes” to either of those, what’s your “leave the stadium”/”turn it off” threshhold? Do you think the Browns have a chance to make this a game at all? More importantly than all of that, will someone please pass the gravy??