The Cleveland Browns will experience a weather change this week as they head to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. By the end of the game, we could have a split decision in Cleveland depending on how Seneca Wallace does...
|QB||Sometimes "winning" is what matters as a quarterback. We've seen that with Tim Tebow, but in Arizona, John Skelton is basically 4-1 as the Cardinals' starter this year (Kevin Kolb is out this week). Skelton helped lead the Cardinals back last week, but overall, he is susceptible to turning the ball over and missing his targets if Larry Fitzgerald is covered well. Seneca Wallace gets the start for Cleveland, and I expect him to throw for over 300 yards and 2-3 touchdowns. That's just the way these quarterback situations work in Cleveland.
|RB||With Wallace in at quarterback and Montario Hardesty being limited during the week, this would be a great opportunity for Peyton Hillis to succeed against a non-Ravens/non-Steelers offense. Will Pat Shurmur maintain a committment to the ground game though? Beanie Wells is having a very good season and is pretty much the team's only running back. He could be in store for a big day if the Cardinals don't want to have to rely on Skelton.
|WR||Larry Fitzgerald. That is all. (Side note: the Browns will be without tight end Ben Watson, and I wonder if Evan Moore might just be a target who Wallace locks in on often).
|OL||I still think the Browns' offensive line has continued to hold it together the past couple of weeks; we didn't see them get torn apart against Baltimore and Pittsburgh despite the pressure they brought. The Cardinals have had issues protecting both of their quarterbacks and have had some inconsistencies when it comes to blocking for the run.
Calais Campbell has generated some good pressure off the end and Darnell Dockett has done well too to form a formidable front. Jabaal Sheard needs to smell blood when Skelton drops back. He has only lost one fumble in five games, but an early defensive strip can help set the tone for the rest of the game. Cleveland's goal-line situational defense also works well against a runner like Beanie Wells.
|LB||Rookie fourth-round pick Sam Acho has taken over for Joey Porter at outside linebacker and done well to improve the Cardinals' front seven. I wish I could offer the same praise to the Browns' Kaluka Maiava; if Scott Fujita were healthy, I would give Cleveland the advantage here.
T.J. Ward will probably miss this week's game again. The Browns will get an up-close-and-personal look at cornerback Patrick Peterson this week, but the defensive back who Wallace needs to worry about is safety Adrian Wilson. The secondary could get some cracks at interceptions this week. Skelton is an inaccurate quarterback and averages throwing two picks a game.
|ST||Patrick Peterson has returned four punts for touchdowns in his rookie year. Cleveland might have the better kicker, but when a returner can help out that much in the outcome of a game, Arizona deserves the advantage here.
Seneca Wallace will look very comfortable in the West Coast Offense and get fans' hopes up, but Arizona is coming off two huge wins over the Cowboys and the 49ers. They are finding ways to win either on offense, defense, or special teams, while Cleveland has not shown the ability to close out a game.
CHRIS' OVERALL NFL PREDICTIONS RECORD: 140-69
CHRIS' RECORD AT PICKING BROWNS GAMES: 9-4