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Chiefs vs. Browns Gameday Preview

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Losing games at Cleveland Browns Stadium has become a common tradition for the Browns unfortunately, and things aren't looking too bright when the Kansas City Chiefs come into town Sunday. Kansas City has had their ups and downs this season, but right now, they find themselves as the first wildcard team despite having to use Damon Huard as their quarterback for half of the season. Cleveland only has two home games left, and the best that we can finish the season is 8-8 (I know, get real...). Despite coming off of our worse loss of the season though, let's not forget that Cleveland has given us false hope in many games this year (against Carolina, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, etc.), so I'm confident that we'll have the feeling that we can "win" this week, at least heading into half time. Let's get to the breakdown of the game now...

OFFENSE

Category Chiefs Browns
Points Scored 20.8 (14th) 15.4 (30th)
Passing 186.2 (21st) 171.9 (25th)
Rushing 134.0 (6th) 80.1 (30th)
Total Offense (yards) 320.2 (15th) 252.0 (31st)

DEFENSE

Category Chiefs Browns
Points Scored 18.6 (9th) 21.6 (19th)
Passing 199.6 (12th) 200.7 (13th)
Rushing 108.6 (13th) 132.5 (24th)
Total Defense (yards) 308.3 (12th) 333.2 (19th)
- Quarterback
A legitimate case can be made that I should've made this category "even", considering the fact that Trent Green has not thrown a touchdown this season in the three games that he's played in. However, the Chiefs have won the past two games he's played in, and right now, I would take his veteran skills over what Charlie Frye brings to the table any day. Frye can't be Charlie Frye behind the offensive line we have now because he's not a quick thinker. That's unfortunate, because it's the type of thing that could cost him his job in a season or two. The Browns have never had much success against cornerback Ty Law, so I'm curious to see how Frye can handle the situation.
- Running Back
The Browns fell so far behind so quickly last week that we abandoned the running game almost immediately. When we did run, we still couldn't "catch" the Bengals by surprise. Also, we suddenly have a running back controversy between Reuben Droughns and Jason Wright, and that's not going to make the veteran happy, regardless of what he says. The Chiefs have been dominating teams with the leading rusher in the NFL, Larry Johnson. And to think, the Chiefs were so close to trading Johnson away two years ago when he was complaining about not having playing time behind Priest Holmes. Johnson isn't going to use speed to beat teams, but he follows his blocks well and knows how to pick apart a defense effectively.
- Receiver
This doesn't happen very often, but the Browns top two receivers have more yards receiving than the Chiefs top receiver. In other words, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow are a tad bit higher in yardage than Kellen Winslow. The Chiefs have never been known as having a No. 1 receiver, and that's the case this year as well. Sure, Green has the Eddie Kennison's and Samie Parker's on his team, but they don't create any obvious mismatches on a weekly basis. We obviously will face the big question regarding Braylon Edwards this week: how will he respond after being under so much scrutiny over the week for what he did to Frye? How about someone besides Edwards or Winslow try to step their game up, because as receivers, Joe Jurevicius, Dennis Northcutt, and Joshua Cribbs haven't been given the opportunity to do much.
- Offensive Line
If our offensive line kept Frye clean, maybe we wouldn't have to worry about any sideline breakouts from Braylon. While Frye is getting sacked about four times a game, Chiefs quarterbacks are only getting sacked about 1.5 times a game. That's a significant difference, and considering that the Chiefs have possibly the best run blocking skills in the league, we can only dream to have a line the caliber of Kansas City's.
- Defensive Line
Once again, Orpheus Roye will be out this week, and that's not good news when we're facing a back like Johnson. Although we've actually contained some running backs lately, are pass rush has been non-existent. It doesn't matter that Cleveland gets a couple of sacks a game if we're allowing quarterbacks four to five seconds to stand in the pocket eighty percent of the time. The Chiefs are pleased with first year defensive end Tamba Hali, and Jared Allen will have a chance to wreck havoc on Frye all game long. The Chiefs defense has improved tremendously this season, and having some solid play up front has been a part of that.
- Linebacker
Remember when we wanted Cleveland to select linebacker Derrick Johnson? Well, he didn't have a "fantastic" season in his first year, but he was playing lights out before his injury this season. Johnson should be in action again against the Browns, as will former Steelers linebacker Kendrell Bell. Last week, despite being blown out, we saw a strong effort from linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. In order for our linebackers to take things to the next level though, our blitzes need to actually have effectiveness, rather than being picked up every single play. That includes Kamerion Wimbley, because he still gets pushed out of a play completely, which in turn gives a quarterback more time to make a decision more times than not.
- Secondary
I hope that we're not being led into false hope again, but Leigh Bodden should be returning this week for the Browns. Our secondary was very poor last week, and Daven Holly and Ralph Brown looked intimidated all game long. Considering the Chiefs don't have a big-time receiving threat, hopefully Bodden's presence will allow our backup cornerbacks to feel more confident, and allow our safeties to finally play with some more freedom again. The Chiefs have the ever-so-dangerous Ty Law, a man that the Browns thought about acquiring when Romeo Crennel became our head coach. The Chiefs aren't too bad at the safety position and will force Frye to make a legitimate play if we want to score, unlike the Chiefs of old.
- Special Teams
Move over Dante Hall, because you don't have anything on Joshua Cribbs. Hall is only averaging 24.2 yards a return, which is nothing compared to Cribbs who stands in at 27.4 yards a return. As far as our kicking game goes, it was disappointing to see Phil Dawson lay an egg last week on his only chance, when he could've broken the shutout while kicking in our own stadium. Still, Dave Zastudil has been punting the ball extremely well for all of the chances our three-and-out offensive series are giving him, and are coverage has not allowed many big returns.
FINAL PREDICTION: Kansas City Chiefs 23, Cleveland Browns 20.
Are we overmatched? On paper, of course we are. However, nobody should ever forget the "any-given-Sunday" philosophy. Heck, UCLA just stunned USC's title hopes, and last week, the Titans completely shocked everyone with an outrageous comeback over the Giants. The last time we faced the Chiefs in Cleveland Browns stadium was a crazy game as well, because with zero seconds on the clock, we were winning the game. Then, during a lateral play, Dwayne Rudd tossed his helmet, and we all remember what happened after that. Funny that the Browns made the playoffs that season...could it be that Tim Couch, William Green, Kevin Johnson, and Quincy Morgan were a better offense than that of today's team? It's amazing when you look back to think that we pulled out so many games that year, and there's only hope that we can experience something like that again heading into next year.

This is the official gameday thread for today's game. Any comments you would like to make before, during, or after the game should be placed into this thread. Enjoy the game, and GO BROWNS!