Following a rough week the Browns will square off with the Vikings today at 1PM. With a myriad of changes in personnel it will be interesting to see how both the coaching staff and players respond today. We have combined a few of our normal week preview articles into one here after the crazy week the trade has led to.
Offensive Line Vs. Front 7s
The Cleveland Browns defensive front 7 have kept the team in many games, making up for the lack of depth in the secondary and lack of offense. The new additions of Desmond Bryant, Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo have so far looked like the needed influx of talent to take the defense over the top. The Browns should also get Ahtyba Rubin back today to shore up the line even more. The Vikings have a solid offensive line led by 2nd year player Matt Khalil at left tackle, drafted right after Trent Richardson. RT Phil Loadholt is just as his name says, a load. While the interior of the line has played well enough to open some lanes for star Adrian Peterson.
The Vikings Front 7 is facing a offensive line that has struggled in the first 2 games against excellent pass rushing teams. Led by Jared Allen the team continues to make solid use of the Cover 2 scheme to get after the quarterback and solid DTs to stop the run. The Browns will continue to have problems pushing the line of scrimmage, and with anyone over O’Neill Cousins.
Normally the quarterback comparisons are highly entertaining and interesting. Not today. Christian Ponder has done nothing to show he will be the QB of the future and able to take pressure off Peterson. Browns new starting QB Brian Hoyer has just done nothing. One or both of these QBs could greatly impact the game, it is more likely that will be due to a poor decision, not stellar play. Based on experience the advantage goes to Ponder.
Skilled Players Vs Defenders
The Vikings have Peterson who is a brute of a runner but has shown ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. The Browns have so far shut down 2 pretty good running games but Peterson provides a stiffer challenge. The Vikings, unlike the Ravens and Dolphins, won’t abandon the run so expect Peterson to get 100 yards but with a low YPC average. The Vikings also have tight end Kyle Rudolph, Greg Jennings and rookie WR Cordarrelle Patterson who can make an impact if delivered the ball on time. Expect Joe Haden to shut down Jennings and TJ Ward to provide coverage to Rudolph leaving Patterson and other WRs to have big games.
The Browns have Josh Gordon returning from injury which should help. Tight End Jordan Cameron has been great so far in the young season so expect the Vikings, specifically Chad Greenway, to send extra attention toward those two. Willis McGahee is aged and coming off injury and Bobby Rainey is young with no experience, the running game probably will be limited leaving Hoyer dropping back to pass a few to many times.
Prediction: I expect a very low scoring game with the Vikings pounding it at the Browns, wearing down the defense. Hoyer will have a quicker release then Brandon Weeden but will be placed in position to throw a few too many times. Expect good games from his check down receivers Devone Bess and Cameron. In the end Ponder makes just enough plays and Hoyer misses a linebacker dropping into coverage for a key 4th quarter INT.
Vikings 17 Browns 13