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Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos - Official Game Thread

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The Cleveland Browns were set to prove the critics wrong for one half last week, but then the other half just fell apart. This week, the Browns will try to find redemption against the Denver Broncos.

CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-1) WEEK 2 DENVER BRONCOS (1-0)
VS.
Date: September 20, 2009 Location: Denver, CO
Time: 4:15 p.m. ET
Stadium: Invesco Field at Mile High
TV: CBS
Favorite: Broncos by 3
Radio: WTAM, 1100 AM Over/Under: 38½
SBN Coverage: Mile High Report Announcers Bill Macatee,
Steve Beuerlein

Two new coaches -- Eric Mangini for the Cleveland Browns and Josh McDaniels for the Denver Broncos. Both of them came from the Belichick tree, and both of them were heavily scrutinized by the media for their offseason moves. Last week, the Browns were night and day against the Vikings, while the Broncos had what might turn out to be the most shocking finish to a game in the 2009 campaign against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Neither team has room to brag about their performances last week, but if the Browns are to contend with their tough schedule, this is one of the type of teams they have to beat.

Let's start off this week's preview with the overall team statistics through Week 2...

OFFENSE

Category Browns Broncos
Points Scored 20.0 (16th) 12.0 (25th)
Passing 179.0 (23rd) 227.0 (15th)
Rushing 89.0 (14th) 75.0 (23rd)
Total Offense (yards) 268.0 (22nd) 302.0 (17th)

DEFENSE

Category Browns Broncos
Points Scored 34.0 (28th) 7.0 (3rd)
Passing 85.0 (3rd) 221.0 (17th)
Rushing 225.0 (32nd) 86.0 (15th)
Total Defense (yards) 310.0 (18th) 307.0 (17th)

CLEVELAND BROWNS Position DENVER BRONCOS
Can Brady Quinn relive the solid performance he had against the Broncos last year?
- QB Kyle Orton is hanging in there as a starter, only because the Broncos don't have a better alternative.
Jamal Lewis ran the ball well against the top-rated Vikings run-defense. Was that a fluke, or a sign of things to come?
- RB It's more of a committee backfield, though Correll Buckhalter should receive most of the workload.
For the Browns, it comes down to chemistry. We have the pieces -- Edwards the playmaker, Furrey the third-down man, and Cribbs the stiff-armer. They just need to find a rhythm now.
- WR - Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall owned the Browns last year, but that was with Jay Cutler under center. Marshall's absence during camp forces the ranking to be "even".
Joe Thomas made it seem like Jared Allen didn't even play last week. The right side of the line is still shaky, but should fare better in Denver.
-
OL RG Chris Kuper might not play again due to a high ankle sprain. If he does play, let's put Shaun Rogers on him, eh?
This is more of an experience factor. The Browns have three veterans starting who each at least crack the "average" barrier, while the Broncos are starting three players with limited experience.
- DL Despite their lack of experience, they deserve credit for helping shut down the Bengals offense last week. We'll see if they remain consistent this week or if they fall apart like many projected them to.
Despite Peterson's day against the Browns last week, I saw more progress from Kamerion Wimbley than past years. The tackling also fared better all-around.
- LB - The big story I'll be interested in here is ILB Andra Davis facing the Browns. He reportedly had a great game last week in his debut, but I'd like to think he'll be tackling Lewis seven yards down the field all day long.
There is a big cloud hanging over the head of Brandon McDonald heading into this game. Will McDonald fold under the pressure? The safety blitzes were great last week too; let's see them again.
-
DB - Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins give the Broncos a decent secondary. Quinn can't afford to have the same type of accuracy issues he did last week against this unit.
At the end of the season, good kick returners usually only have 2-3 touchdown returns. You just feel like heading into every game though that Cribbs is going to score.
- ST Eddie Royal's speed could burn the Browns if our containment doesn't improve this week. K Matt Prater in his career is 7-of-15 on kicks from 40-49 yards, but 6-of-7 on kicks from 50+ yards.

I predicted a home loss to the Vikings last week, but I'm going for a road win over the Broncos this time around. I don't think Kyle Orton is a good enough of a starting quarterback, and I am looking forward to our defense getting pressure on him and forcing him into a few costly throws. The Broncos' ground game doesn't pose anywhere close to the same match-up problems that Adrian Peterson did, removing the same type of intimidation I felt we were up against last week.

If the Bengals have a great defensive game against you, it's not a good sign. Denver's defensive effort against the Bengals was extremely impressive, but I won't be convinced they can do that week in and week out until I see it over the span of a month. Final Score: Cleveland Browns 27, Denver Broncos 16

FINAL PREDICTION: Cleveland Browns 27, Denver Broncos 16.
CHRIS' RECORD IN PICKING BROWNS GAMES: 1-0
CHRIS' OVERALL NFL PREDICTIONS RECORD: 13-3


This is the official gameday thread for the Cleveland Browns in Week 2 as they take on the rivaled Denver Broncos. All comments regarding the game should be posted in this topic. Enjoy the game, and GO BROWNS!!!