Cleveland Browns 2009 Season Preview: Part Two

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Cleveland Browns 2009 Season Preview: Part Two
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

This is part two of a season preview. At this point I have the Browns at 2-2. It seems like every year at this point we are right around .500. After that it seems to go down hill.

This will be the most important, but difficult, part of the schedule. Three of the next four are on the road going into the bye week.

10/11/09 at Buffalo Bills

The Browns enter a hostile stadium with some new faces. Terrell Owens is the biggest name. DB Drayton Florence and RB Dominic Rhodes are the other big free agents to arrive in Buffalo. Browns have won the past two meetings, including the Snow Bowl in 2007.

Key Matchups:

Eric Wright vs. Terrell Owens: Eric Wright is becoming a pretty solid CB. Not quite shutdown material, but pretty decent. He will have his hands full on this Sunday.

Aaron Maybin vs. Joe Thomas: Maybin remains unsigned at this point, so he may not see as much playing time. If he does play, this could be a great matchup to watch.

Marshawn Lynch vs. Shaun Rogers: The Bills offensive line looks to be a glaring weakness heading into this season. Lynch needs a good push to get going against Rogers and the huge d-line. Look for Rogers to have a big day.

Final Score: 24-13 Browns. The Bills have quite a pair of receivers in Owens and Evans, but Trent Edwards does not have much protection against the Browns' new attacking defense.

10/18/09 at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Browns will be going into Steeler Country huge underdogs...

Key Matchups:

Steelers O-Line vs. Browns Front Seven: The Steelers don't have many questions heading into the season, but the O-line is one of them. The Browns will win if they get to Big Ben. If they don't, it's going to be a long day.

Jamal Lewis vs. James Harrison: The Browns need a big day out of their running backs. Harrison has turned into a huge playmaker and is all over the field. Lewis needs to gain yardage, and keep control of the game.

Alex Mack vs. Casey Hampton: Alex Mack faces another great nose tackle. If Mack can hold his own this season against players like this, he should be pro bowl bound. Mack is key to setting a up a powerful running game against this top defense.

Final Score: 9-6 Steelers. Defense will dominate this game, but once again the Steelers find a way to pull it out. Close game with many miscues by both QB's.

10/25/09 vs. Green Bay Packers

This will be the first trip to Cleveland for the Packers since 1995. It could be a very entertaining game. The Packers are switching to the 3-4 defense, with mastermind Dom Capers in charge. Aaron Rogers had a decent 2008 season.

Key Matchups:

Triple J's vs. the Packers Front Seven: A team in transition usually has trouble. I am not convinced that the Packers have the right players for the 3-4 this season. It may take a couple years for the transition to work. It could be another big day for the Browns' runningbacks.

Greg Jennings vs. Eric Wright: Jennings led the team with 80 receptions and almost 1,300 yards. Looking at the stats, Rogers didn't really have a favorite receiver, so keeping the main guy in check may not solve everything.

Final Score: 24-17 Browns. With the Packers in transition on defense, whomever the QB is for the Browns may have a great day.

11/01/09 at Chicago Bears

Browns travel to Solider Field for what could be an exciting mid-season matchup. Jay Cutler has arrived in the Windy City. The way he played last season against the Browns may not be a good sign for the Browns faithful.

Key Matchups:

Jay Cutler vs. the Browns Secondary: Cutler does not have the weapons he did in Denver, but he is a pretty good QB. The secondary may have a long day. Throw in RB Matt Forte, and the Bears look to have a solid offense this season.

Braylon Edwards vs. The Bears CB's: Braylon needs to prove himself this season. He needs a big game against a good defense, and this may be the game he is looking for.

Final Score: 27-17 Bears. The Browns keep it close early, but the Bears pull away on some miscues by the Browns QB.

Heading into the bye, I have the Browns at 4-4. Not bad considering they only play three home games. I think any Browns fan would take that.

The defense will surprise everyone in the first half of the season, and match its 2008 sack total in the first half of 2009.

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