Friday, October 23, 2015

#Browns Preview 10.23.15: Cleveland Browns @ St. Louis #Rams

By @mrgroce

Fresh off a disappointing 26-23 loss to the Denver Broncos, the Cleveland Browns travel to St.Louis to take on the Rams who are coming off of their bye week. The Browns found every way possible to lose this game and midway through overtime accomplished their mission. Questionable coaching decisions, bad defense, and terrible QB play eventually killed the Browns chances of pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the young season. Peyton Manning struggled for most of the game, but Denver realized they were facing the worst run defense in the NFL and decided to hand the ball off for the rest of the overtime and finished the Browns off with a field goal. 

That same run defense must now prepare to face one of the newest studs in the league, running back Todd Gurley. I'm a little biased here because Gurley was my favorite player coming out of college in this year's draft. After missing all of training camp, preseason and the first two games of the year Gurley has gained over 300 yards in the two games he has started this season. The Browns coaching staff has heard all season long how bad the run D is, so I'm sure they have been stressing to the players to not allow themselves to get embarrassed by a rookie. The Rams only average 309 yards per game and have the second worst passing attack gaining only 183 receiving yards per game. QB Nick Foles has one of the worst passing ratings in the league only registering a lowly 77.6 per game. WR Tavon Austin is questionable for this week's game and WR Kenny Britt only has 183 yards all season. Stopping the run seems to be the recipe for victory for the Browns this week. 

Browns QB Josh McCown has shown why he's not a franchise quarterback while at the same time allowing us to see how he has stayed in the league for 12 years. When he's on he hits everything in sight, but when he's off he is absolutely terrible. The Rams have one of the top defensive lines in football. They have 19 sacks in only five games. WR Travis Benjamin and TE Gary Barnidge had big games last week and seem to be the most targeted options for McCown. If Cleveland could get a consistent run attack this offense could be dare I say, dangerous. Before the season started the number one question Browns fans asked were "where will the points come from"? Who would've imagined the Browns would be the 6th best scoring team in the NFL averaging 23 points per game? Running back Robert Turbin who made his Browns debut carried the ball ten times for 27 yards. Isaiah Crowell had 32 yards rushing and Duke Johnson finished with 38 yards rushing. The offensive line hasn't played the way everyone expected this year, but I can't blame them for the run game being this dismal. It's time for one of the three backs to step up and take over the lead rusher position and carry this offense on their back. 

The Rams have beaten the Seahawks and Cardinals, but have lost to the Redskins and Steelers (minus Ben). Seems like they play to the level of their competition which is great news for the Browns. Two average teams with average quarterbacks means this one will come down to turnovers and who commits fewer untimely penalties. If I was to use that logic I'd have to go with the Rams, but Cleveland knows that a loss here which would drop them to 2-5 will pretty much end their season. That level of desperation has me thinking that the Browns will find a way to pull this one out 27-17. 

What: Cleveland Browns (2-4) at St.Louis Rams (2-3)
When: Sunday Oct. 25 1:00 PM
Where: Edward Jones Dome St.Louis
TV/Radio: CBS, WKNR 850 Cleveland, WKRK 92.3 The Fan, WNCX 98.5

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