Why the Cleveland Browns Will Beat the Kansas City Chiefs This Sunday
How can the youngest team in the NFL pull this off? The following slides will map out the top three reasons why Cleveland (4-8) will send their fans home happy.
Returning for this game will be three prominent faces of Browns teams past.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) head coach Romeo Crennel was at the helm for the Browns from 2005 through most of 2009.
Quarterback Brady Quinn and running back Peyton Hillis were also once beloved around town. They will be discussed in greater detail later on.
Let's break it all down.
Reason 3: The Chiefs Have Brady Quinn
The former golden boy Brady Quinn returns to northeast Ohio Sunday afternoon.
Once hailed as the future saviour quarterback in Cleveland, Quinn never lived up to his potential and departed the Browns following the 2009 campaign.
His career stats? Barely worth mentioning.
Quinn started his first game in over two years this season in Kansas City after getting no opportunities during his time in Denver.
No. 9 has a career passer rating of 67.6 and his average yards per reception is under six. Yes, that is less than six yards per completion.
However, the NFL is all about what have you done for me lately. In Quinn's case that is stepping up and leading his club to an emotional 27-21 victory on the heels of a terrible teammate tragedy.
The former first round pick threw for an efficient 201 yards to eight different receivers that included a pair of touchdowns.
His passer rating was an outstanding 132.1 and most importantly for the Columbus, Ohio native was that he was not intercepted.
Quinn's ineptitude as a number one when he wore orange and brown is well known, but could that emotional win be enough to carry him through to this week and defeat his old squad?
If the Cleveland defense can keep up the pressure it has the last three weeks then this Notre Dame alum will crumble.
Nine sacks, four interceptions, and 19 pass deflections during that time frame reflects a defensive unit that is healthy and gelling.
They collectively flustered above average signal callers like Tony Romo and Carson Palmer. Getting Quinn uncomfortable should not be a problem.
Reason 2: Trent Richardson
Kansas City are only ranked 26th in the NFL against the run, but ninth in defending the pass. This means that the Browns will need to lean heavily on Trent Richardson once again.
Allowing an average of 129.3-yards per match-up, Cleveland will look to over power rookie nose tackle Dontari Poe. The highly touted first round pick has not lived up to expectations.
Once the Browns offensive line bullies through Poe and company up front, Richardson will have the chance to get free in space.
Getting No. 33 the ball early and often is extra important versus a top 10 pass defense.
KC head coach Romeo Crennel will surely attempt to focus them on trying to rattle first year quarterback Brandon Weeden.
This season T-Rich has amassed over a third of his total all-purpose-yards in the first half of a game.
If this trend continues, Weeden will see throwing lanes open up across the middle as Kansas City is forced to stack the box.
Being in Cleveland Browns Stadium is good news for the "Dawg Pound" as Richardson has rushed for two of his three 100-yard performances at home.
The number three overall selection in this year's draft is a mere 173-yards shy of his quest to hit the magic 1000 mark.
“For a personal goal and from the team aspect, it’s very important to me, especially me being in my first year and wanting to conquer a lot in my whole career,” Richardson told the Beacon Journal.
He will have a chance to take a big chunk out of that remaining deficit this Sunday.
Reason 1: Browns' Ability to Stop the Run
Let's face it, the Chiefs are a one trick pony. However, that pony for Kansas City is a running back named Jamaal Charles and Cleveland must find a way to stop him.
The fifth-year RB ranks sixth amongst NFL rushers in 2012 and already broke the 1000-yard plateau.
Luckily for the Browns their run defense has proven that it can contain feature backs.
Although they are shown in 16th place overall against the run, since the bye week Cleveland's 'D' has been turning heads.
The Browns have allowed 85 rushing-yards or less in their last three match-ups and only two touchdowns via the hand-off.
Charles will still likely put up good numbers because that's what upper echelon rushers do.
However, if Cleveland can control the 5'11, 199 pound beast early on then it will force the inconsistent Brady Quinn to throw.
A scenario Browns' defensive coordinator Dick Jauron would be much more comfortable with.
The infamous Peyton Hillis will be another ex-Brown to return to the shores of Lake Eerie this weekend.
This former Madden NFL video game cover boy was allowed to walk away as a free agent after a 2011 season plagued by suspect injuries and contract disputes.
Browns pro-bowl left tackle, Joe Thomas, pulled no punches when asked about his old teammate on Wednesday. "With him here (it) was toxic, and he didn’t want to be here and players didn’t want him here," he told the Plain Dealer
Hillis has been a non-factor since joining the Chiefs as a backup. Contributing 193-yards on 59 carries are not exactly stellar results from a man who was demanding a big money long-term deal in Cleveland.
Maybe the Arkansas native will receive a little more action than usual to see if he can be a spark plug; but don't count on him being a difference maker.
Game Day Predictions
The Browns are favored to win by just under a touchdown as of Thursday morning, which sounds about right.
Here are some game day predictions:
Cleveland get out to an early lead and hold off a late Kansas City surge for a 20-13 victory.
BROWNS PLAYER PERFORMANCES
Brandon Weeden- 250 yards, one TD, zero INT
Trent Richardson- 102 rushing yards, one TD
Sheldon Brown- one INT, three pass break-ups
D'Qwell Jackson- one-and-a-half sacks, 10 tackles
CHIEFS PLAYER PERFORMANCES
Brady Quinn- 180 yards, zero TD, two INT
Jamaal Charles- 85 rushing yards, one TD
Let your opinion be heard by commenting below.
Follow Andy McNamara on Twitter @AndyMc81