This week, the Cleveland Browns are at home again to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in what will once again be the game that no one outside of the fans from these cities cares about. Both teams are pretty similar in a sense -- they have really struggled to even get down into the red zone this year, but play pretty stout defense to keep them in games. Who will come out on top this week?
|QB||If you thought the Browns struggled throwing the ball, then you might have a very positive perspective of Colt McCoy after watching Blaine Gabbert throw the ball. He is only completing 47 percent of his passes and has failed to live up to what some of his rookie counterparts are doing despite having the best running game to work with. McCoy has shown some progress over the past two weeks in the little things, so we'll see if he puts it all together this week.
|RB||There is a chance that the Browns might get Montario Hardesty back from a calf injury, but he's considered a game-time decision. If he can't go, Chris Ogbonnaya will get the start again and probably won't be able to do much on the ground against Jacksonville's defense. Maurice Jones-Drew has been the Jaguars' offense this season. Some running backs succeed because of the system they are in. When you look at Jones-Drew's YPC average (4.5) versus his backups YPC average (2.3), I think that says something.|
|WR||Can you imagine the horror of Brian Robiskie playing against the Browns and getting past a guy like Joe Haden for a big play? Robiskie did not play last week due to a hamstring injury, and he might not play this week for that same reason. If he does play though, the Jaguars are worse off at the receiver position than Cleveland is, so he might actually see some reps. Mohamed Massaquoi is expected to return as a starting receiver this week. Side note: how is Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis only averaging two receptions per game?|
|OL||The Browns have really only had some shuffling at the right tackle position earlier this season, otherwise the line has consistently played together. The Jaguars have had a bit more shuffling at the position, and, like the Browns, have had to keep in a tight end for extra protection (the Lewis mystery is quickly solved).
|DL||The Browns already faced Kamerion Wimbley earlier this year, and this week they go up against another former pass-rushing teammate -- defensive end Matt Roth. Roth might not have a ton of sacks, but as we remember from his time in Cleveland, he can use his bull rush to pressure the opposing quarterback. (Former Brown C.J. Mosley also plays for Jacksonville).
For the Browns, defensive end Jayme Mitchell could be back in the starting lineup this week. If not, then Emmanuel Stephens would get the start again. It's kind of bizarre that the Browns' defensive line is terrible against the run in the first half of games, but no too shabby in the second half of games.
|LB||I don't know about you, but I'm really digging the trio of Scott Fujita, D'Qwell Jackson, and Chris Gocong right now. All three seem to be coming up with key plays at certain spots in games. That might make some of them better role players, but it's better than having someone who is just...there. The Jaguars brought over Clint Session from the Colts in the offseason as one of their starting linebackers, but they really seem to lack depth at the position.|
|DB||Can we borrow a safety from the Jacksonville Jaguars? They added two new starters -- Dwight Lowery and Dawan Landry -- in the offseason, and both have done a good job for Jacksonville's secondary. The Browns will be without safety T.J. Ward this week, but nickel back Dimitri Patterson is expected to return to action. Given the Jaguars' passing struggles, the pass defense shouldn't be an issue (we'll see about Usama Young against the run again). Jacksonville does a good job defending deep pass plays, something the Browns seldom attempt.|
Nick Harris, a punter the Browns could have considered before going with Brad Maynard, came in a month or so back as an injury replacement for Jacksonville. Both Josh Scobee and Phil Dawson can kick the ball long and accurate, but the Jaguars lack any real punch in the return game, even compared to Cleveland this year.
I'm not sure when the showers are expected to occur, but I don't think tomorrow's game at the stadium will be filled with bright sunshine. I continue hoping that the Browns' offense will get over that hump and score an early touchdown. The real story in this game is that I see the Jaguars' offense doing worse than the Rams' offense last week, which will be enough for the Browns to squeak out a victory this time around.
CHRIS' OVERALL NFL PREDICTIONS RECORD: 91-54
CHRIS' RECORD AT PICKING BROWNS GAMES: 5-4