It will be intriguing to see what offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has in store for Sunday's game against New England. After an improbable and unique thrashing of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, the Browns can expect the Patriots special teams to be ready for any trick plays on Sunday. That puts the onus on the Browns to execute a more traditional game plan successfully.
The Patriots are ranked 21st in the league in total defense and give up a ton of yards at 384 per game. That breaks down to 101 yards rushing and 282 passing which makes Cleveland's choice of a starting quarterback critical. They have only 13 sacks and 24 passes defensed.
With Seneca Wallace missing practice on Thursday, that puts rookie Colt McCoy in line for his first home start against the Patriots. In his first two games he has displayed poise, command of the huddle and a deft touch on short passes. If he is to take advantage of the Patriot's apparent weakness against the pass he is going to have to challenge the corners early to open up the middle for tight ends Ben Watson and Evan Moore.
The forecast for Cleveland on Sunday is 51 degrees and sunny. McCoy couldn't ask for better weather to make his regular season debut. Not having to fight the winds off Lake Erie will give him optimal conditions for throwing the rock.
The Patriots have scored 20 or more points in all but one of their games this season, so the defense led by coordinator Rob Ryan will be in for quite a test and while I'm sure he will have a solid game plan the law of averages indicate the Patriots will put points on the board.
While the Browns love to establish Peyton Hillis in the first half of games, I don't envision this being a game of field position. Even without Randy Moss, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is still exceptionally dangerous and has weapons in h-back Aaron Hernandez, wide receiver Wes Welker and wide receiver Brandon Tate.
Simply put, our favorite revolver is going to have to air it out this weekend if the Browns are going to win. If the football gods are willing and Daboll takes the shackles off, it will be fascinating to see what McCoy does when he has to go down field and put points on the board via the air.
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