CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Three games in, and it's actually getting tougher and tougher to predict what the Browns are going to do next. You'd think it would be getting easier. They've lost twice in three weeks to bad football teams, and now the better teams are on deck. That includes the San Diego Chargers, who have the better quarterback (Philip Rivers), better running back (Melvin Gordon), and better receiver (Keenan Allen). They also have a top-10 defense, which says something about their pass defense, since their run defense is ranked 29th in the league. Which brings me to why the Browns have a chance to win.
If any matchup lines up perfectly for their system, it should be this one. The Browns have yet to unleash that ball-controlling ground game they bragged about, but this could be the week. Take the ball out of McCown's hands, and put it in Crowell's. Or Duke Johnson's, for that matter. The Chargers have given up 135.7 yards per game on the ground. It's time for the Browns' offensive line to 'have a day'. Will it be enough? It's a quarterback-driven league, so there aren't many weeks in which I'll feel good about our chances. Rivers isn't Brady, but he's in the next tier, and our secondary hasn't exactly been lights-out. But if MIke Pettine's going to stick with his 'plan', and that plan includes sticking with Josh McCown, well, then, grind it out against a team that hasn't been able to stop others from doing the same.
If that fails, look out. Because after the Chargers, I see an 8-week stretch in which only one team, the Rams, seems beatable for the Browns, and that game's in their building. Naturally, Ben Rothlisberger will return just in time for the game in mid-November, so don't count on that win. And you have to believe the Ravens will figure things out, sooner than later.
Then again, as I stated at the top, I don't know what to think about the Browns at this point. The two identities they were counting on, running the ball and stopping the run, have been shredded. Their top free-agent receiver can't get on the field. And their dynamic, play-making quarterback is back on the bench. Something's gotta give. Maybe, just maybe, on Sunday, it'll be the Chargers.
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