Browns vs. Colts: Breaking Down the Week 7 Matchup

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Browns vs. Colts: Breaking Down the Week 7 Matchup
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Vick Ballard is the Colts' starting running back. Let that settle in.

Before the 2012 season began, the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns both circled Week 7 on their schedules and said, "That is a game we are going to win!"

After six weeks, 13 games and just three combined wins between them, both are looking at Sunday's matchup as a game they have to win in order to make any headway in 2012.

Here's everything you need to know about the game.

 

What It Means

Indianapolis got a dose of reality last week, as it was curb-stomped by the New York Jets.

Whatever flickering dreams of relevance the Colts have depend entirely upon this game with Cleveland.

That extends to an epic sell-out streak. The Colts are all but certain to sell out Sunday's game, but with a string of low-profile teams coming to Lucas Oil Stadium, it's going to take wins to keep patrons filling the stands.

A victory would even their record on the year and get momentum heading in the right direction.

Cleveland has to understand that its season is already toast, but with a new owner coming on board, it's more important than ever for players and coaches to prove they deserve to stay employed.

Everyone in Cleveland is playing for his job right now.

 

Matchup to Watch: Trent Richardson vs. Colts Run Defense

Against the New York Jets, the Colts were steam-rolled to the tune of 252 yards rushing.

It was a familiar refrain of the same, sad old song that has plagued Indy for years. Even with the transition to a 3-4 defense, the Colts have not been able to find a big body in the middle of the line to keep teams from ripping off huge gains.

Richardson has been underwhelming six games into his young career and is battling a rib injury. Still, against Indianapolis, he figures to get heavy carries.

The Colts are going to have to make a difficult choice with Dwight Freeney if the run game gets moving for the Browns. Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas is perhaps the game's best lineman, and Cleveland excels in runs to his side.

Freeney is battling an ankle injury and was ineffective against the Jets. Given that he's already not the best run defender, the Browns could look to exploit their advantage by pounding the ball to the left.

If Freeney isn't able to hold his own, the Colts could be forced to pull him from the lineup.

 

Stat that Matters

When it comes to turnovers forced, the Cleveland Browns are among the best in football, having forced 10 interceptions and four fumbles recovered.

When it comes to turnovers forced, the Indianapolis Colts are the worst in football, having forced just two interceptions and one fumble recovered.

Turnovers matter, and the Browns force them while the Colts don't.

 

Best Video Only Tangentially Related to the Game

Come on, this one is easy.

 

The Colts Will Win If...

If Andrew Luck plays better than he did against New York, the Colts should be fine.

Cleveland is no pushover, and it's been in games more often than not, but playing at home, the Colts should be able to run their offense effectively.

If the run defense can offer up even token resistance (say 130 yards rather than 180 yards), the Colts should be able to outscore the Browns.

 

The Browns Will Win If...

If Brandon Weeden doesn't throw interceptions, the Browns have a real chance of winning.

Indianapolis has one of the least talented secondaries in football, and Weeden has shown some ability to get the ball downfield.

Most of his stats are similar to Luck's with the exception of interceptions. Weeden has killed Cleveland with 10 picks on the year, making it difficult for the Browns to pull out wins late.

 

Outlook

These are two bad teams, and the team that makes fewer big mistakes will likely win.

Given that the game is in Indianapolis, the Colts should be slight favorites, though this is a good matchup for Cleveland.

The Colts should win a turnover-filled eye-bleeder, but if Cleveland hands it to them, it won't be a shocker.

Indianapolis 23, Cleveland 19

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