Four weeks ago in this space, I was lamenting the impending beat-down about to be administered onto the Browns by the Chargers (and let’s not forget that at the start of the fourth quarter that day it was 27-7 Bolts). How long ago does that game feel right now? I know the competition hasn’t been the best, but seriously… THE BROWNS HAVE WON THREE GAMES IN A ROW.
The test will get tougher this week, as the Jags are still clinging to a slim, slim chance of making the playoffs by winning and getting some help. And, of course last year’s topsy-turvy game against the Jags prompted (I’m happy for ya, and I’ma let you finish) probably one of my best photoshopping efforts of all time. The Browns played solid ball control on Sunday against the Raiders, and capitalized on defense when they had to, shutting the Raiders out in the second half. The Jags are 16th in the league in yards per game on offense, but only 22nd in points-scored per game. Can the Browns do it again, and end the season with FOUR straight wins? Dead Man Walking Mangini certainly hopes so. Without further ado…
The Browns Will Win If…
Craig: …they can stop Jacksonville’s running attack. Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the most dangerous players that the Browns have faced all season long. Obviously the Browns offense needs to continue the momentum they have established the last few weeks. But I think the key is stopping Mo Jo Drew. On the season he has 5 games over 100 yards rushing, 15 rushing TDs and 1 receiving TD. It will be a real test to a Browns defense that has been known to give up long plays.
Scott: …the defense can keep Maurice Jones-Drew at bay while winning the trenches on the offensive end. Sure, Mike Sims-Walker is a talented wide receiver and David Garrard can get it done on the ground, but it is all MJD when it comes down to any one guy that can change the game. At least for Jacksonville. The Browns still have Josh Cribbs, but if the offensive line can keep up their solid play, it’ll make things that much better. Oh, and Derek Anderson not throwing any interceptions would also be a bonus. Rawr!
DP: …Jerome Harrison has one more 150-yard game in his bag this year. The Jags’ defense is just in the top half of the league (16th) in rushing yards allowed per game, so it will be much tougher to control the ball through the run game than it was against KC (31st) and Oakland (29th). All of a sudden, though, the Browns are 10th in the league in rushing yards per game. Who knew? On defense, the Browns will have to stack against the run, as the Jags are a bit better at 9th in the league in rushing yards per game. The Jags have a better passing attack than Oakland and KC, but other than Maurice Jones-Drew, name a guy on their offense that you’re up nights thinking about if you’re a defensive coordinator; David Garrard is the team’s second-leading rusher with 283 yards on the season, and Jones-Drew is second on the team in receptions. This is going to be a much tougher game to win for this Browns team, but if they can contain Jones-Drew and control the clock a bit on offense—which includes DA having another no-turnover game—and get some timely help from Josh Cribbs, they have a shot to somehow end the year with five wins.
Rick: …they can keep the offense more focused on the run than the pass. Getting down early will be the death of this winning streak. The Browns have to take care of the ball and play solid defense early in this one. Open some running lanes for Harrison, Cribbs and Jennings. Plus, we will need to upset the Jaguars game plan by forcing them out of the rushing game. The Browns showed a lot of grit by shutting down the run in recent weeks, they will need to do it again against one of the league’s best backs.
Denny: …Dan stops making Kanye West jokes. It’s OK, I’ll let him have this one – but seriously, come 2010 I expect to hear none of this alleged meme. Maybe the twitter wit gets me burned out on things quickly, but for serious, this one’s gotta go. I know I just opened the floodgates for LOLFest and ROFLCopters or whatever you kids enjoy, but whatever. I had to call Dan on it. Anyways, football game – the Football Browns will win if they keep their momentum going. Honestly they’ve been a pleasant surprise in winning 3 in a row, but we all kind of hoped that the Browns weren’t bad enough to lose to the Chefs and the Raiders. A win over the Jags would be a nice finish to the season BUT WHAT OH WHAT WOULD IT DO TO OUR DRAFT PICK OMGGGGGG!
Now for the other side of the coin. We reached out to the guys at Big Cat Country, as they participated with us prior to last year’s game. Jonathon Loesche was kind enough to respond, and he brought the pain. Without further ado…
The Jaguars Will Win If…
…they can muster enough motivation to come out and play hard against the Browns on Sunday. After three back breaking losses in a row, I have to wonder if this team is going to really want to show up in Cleveland.
This game reminds me alot of their 2006 trip to Kansas City. Then, just as now, the Jaguars lost games they should’ve won down the stretch and have no one but themselves to blame for that. They proceeded to stink out Arrowhead Stadium and actually managed to make Quinn Gray look like an NFL QB.
If nothing else, this will be a good measuring stick for Del Rio as a head coach.
If the Jaguars do decide to show up, then getting MJD up and running is the primary concern. As long as MJD gets 20+ touches than I can’t see the Jaguars losing.
What say, there, fuzzy britches?