Cleveland Browns: 4 Things to Expect for Week 2
The "factory of sadness" cranked out another disappointing loss for Cleveland in Week 1. The Browns had a 16-10 lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles stole the victory on their final drive.
Philadelphia were the nine-point favorites over the Browns coming into the game, but Cleveland must not have received that memo. The Browns played competitive football and even had a legitimate shot at winning.
However, in true Cleveland fashion, the Browns were unable to put away the Eagles.
The defense was amazing, forcing five turnovers and hassling QB Michael Vick for the entire game. The offense countered with four turnovers of its own, which could be cited as the main reason Cleveland lost.
The Browns will have a shot at redemption as the team travels to battle the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. Cleveland could almost be considered a favorite based on the 44-13 beating suffered by the Bengals at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
This will be a good game. Here are four things Browns fans should expect in Week 2.
The Browns' Secondary Will Struggle
Cleveland allowed Michael Vick to pass for over 300 yards—and that was with a healthy secondary. Now that Joe Haden is out due to suspension, it could be open season on the Browns defensive backs.
Against DeSean Jackson, Joe Haden played well by limiting the wideout to only 77 yards. He also recorded an interception. The sad news is that Haden must now miss a month as his suspension has become official.
Haden violated the NFL's policies on performance-enhancing substances and will miss the next four games. This means the pressure will be on a group that allowed Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin to gain 96 yards and a touchdown.
This bodes well for Bengals receiver A.J. Green, who only had 70 yards against a tough Baltimore defense last week.
It will not be easy for the Browns to replace their shutdown corner, especially as they face a rising star in the former first-round pick.
Brandon Weeden Will Continue to Have Multiple Turnovers
The glaring problem for the Browns in Week 1 was quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Weeden started his NFL career with a horrible game against Philadelphia. He completed 12 of 35 pass attempts for 118 yards and four interceptions. He also fumbled the ball twice, but both fumbles were recovered by the Browns.
This is nothing new for the Browns rookie, who also had problems with turnovers in the preseason. Weeden fumbled the ball three times, twice in a game against the Eagles.
It could be an awareness issue, or perhaps he was just overwhelmed as it was his first career game. Either way, this is not something that will likely go away after one week, so Browns fans should be more prepared as more turnovers are yet to come.
The Browns Defensive Line Will Dominate the Bengals Offensive Line
The Browns defensive line was on a mission against the Eagles.
Though they did not record a sack against Philadelphia, they were the reason Vick threw so many interceptions. Guys like DT Billy Winn and DE Frostee Rucker were constantly pressuring Vick.
The line had an energy that went unmatched by the Eagles' offensive line, which was surprising as the Browns were missing DT Phil Taylor. Without Taylor, it was expected DE Jabaal Sheard and DT Ahtyba Rubin would have to do most of the work.
With a solid first week, the line will be itching to play the Bengals. The Bengals allowed four sacks against the Ravens, and the reformed interior of their offensive line struggled.
Due to injuries to center Kyle Cook and guard Travelle Wharton, Cincinnati had to start Jeff Faine alongside youngsters Clint Boling and Kevin Zeitler. Faine had been with the team for about a week.
The energy of the Browns defensive line against a weak Bengals interior line will be a matchup for Cleveland to exploit.
The Game Will Come Down to the 4th Quarter
If Week 1 was any indication of what the Browns could be this season, their game against the Bengals is going to be close. Cleveland will be looking to finish the job this time, while Cincinnati will try to prove they are better than their Week 1 performance.
Both teams have historically had closely-contested games. Since 2009, only one game was not decided by a late score.
Last season, the Bengals swept the series in a pair of thrillers that remain fresh in the minds of Browns fans.
The first loss came at the hands of A.J. Green, who scored a late touchdown when the Browns defense was not ready. The second loss was a close 23-20 affair which ended on a botched snap during a game-tying field-goal attempt
Cincinnati leads the close overall series 41-36, so expect nothing but a battle in this Week 2 matchup.
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