The Cleveland Browns are poised for a big Week 2 game but to make that happen, a few conditions must be met.
A win in Week 1 would have been great for the Cleveland Browns and their fanbase. Although that did not happen, at least they did not lose. While that does not reduce the sting of yet another non-win, there were positives seen, which in turn increases confidence going forward.
On Sunday, the Browns take on the talented New Orleans Saints. The shootout they had with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 was not what they are used to showcasing. Like last season, their defense got off to a poor before becoming a very popular and successful defense. That said, there is an opportunity for Cleveland as long they can overcome a few specifics.
Cleveland can pull out the win but to do so, they must be prepared to stick with Drew Brees and company. In other words, a near flawless game for Cleveland resulting in another shootout for the Saints would be expected. That is because as good as Cleveland’s defense played in Week 1, they will be on the road going up against the Saints who has a lot options to use, haven’t proved to be a reliable defense, and played in bad weather to begin the season.
If somehow Cleveland’s defense played like they did last week down in New Orleans, then keeping up with the Saints’ offense would be much easier.
Furthermore, no issues with special teams can occur. That means no blocked kicks, only having to punt a single digit amount, and displaying correct protection with no liability on schemes. See Nick Chubb barely getting out-of-the-way of one of Britton Colquitt‘s Week 1 punts as an example.
The key to making the Browns/Saints game one that Cleveland can win is actually the Browns offense. Can they eliminate penalties? Can Tyrod Taylor throw the ball more and when he does, can he do it in a way where he does not force anything and take what the defense is giving him?
Also, can the offensive line contain Cameron Jordan, Sheldon Rankins, and company, while delivering on their assignments regularly? If the offensive line can do that, a better rushing performance by the running back could be seen. Lastly, how does Taylor and Todd Haley figure out the Saints secondary?
No one saw Tampa do what they did last week and given what New Orleans has on defense, it is hard to imagine them struggling for very long. There are many unknowns heading into this week’s game. Hopefully, Cleveland can correct at least some of their wrongs heading into Sunday and keep it that way throughout the afternoon.
If Cleveland cannot have a successful offensive game while figuring out the opposing defense, they will have no chance of a win. Naturally, all three aspects are needed for a win. Some teams can get by with two but for the current Browns team, that is not possible.
Should Cleveland have some success on offense, adding to the familiarity Gregg Williams has of the Saints combined with the athletes on Cleveland’s defense, the high-powered Saints offense may be in for a surprise.
Confidently speaking, I will assume that the special teams won’t be an issue. If Cleveland’s offense is not inconsistent and the Saints put up about 25 points, then the Browns should be in the game late in the fourth. As long as Brees does not put up 350 yards and Alvin Kamara has an off game, a win could be earned by Cleveland.
Plenty has to work out for Cleveland but the recipe for success is right in front of them. The question is can they do enough to put themselves in a win? At the very least Sunday should be very entertaining and when it is all said and done, northeast Ohio may be very happy later on in the afternoon.