Cleveland Browns week two preview


photo via National Football League

The Cleveland Browns are riding a 16-year-long streak heading into Week 2 of the NFL season. Though Cleveland fans might wish this was a win streak, Browns fans are used to futile statistics after decades of failure.  It has been 16 consecutive years that the Browns have fumbled game one.

Last Sunday, the Browns squared off against the 2019-2020 season MVP, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Hopes in Cleveland were high for a win, but the losing streak continued. The Ravens pummeled the Browns in a 38-6 blowout win. Lamar Jackson pieced together three passing touchdowns for the Ravens while passing for nearly 300 yards. 

Conversely, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield could only find the end zone once. Inevitably, Browns kicker Austin Seibert missed the PAT and subsequently was fired from his job. Only The Browns folks.

Despite the poor overall performance, there were a few, dim glimmers of hope for Browns fans. First, running back Nick Chubb looked comfortable in the offense and found success in the run game. In addition, running back Kareem Hunt also performed well. 

Looking forward to the week two matchup tonight at 8:30 p.m., the Browns will be squaring off against an AFC North rival in the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals, led by former LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, are also returning this week from a difficult loss. A missed, last second field goal attempt kept the Bengals from forcing overtime. 

The Browns must do three key things to win tonight:

  • Keep Baker comfortable

Last week the Cleveland Browns offensive line allowed Baker Mayfield to be hit 21 times in the backfield. The Ravens defensive line had at least one defender pressuring Mayfield on nearly every play. To find success tonight, the Browns defense must fend off the Bengals’ talented defensive front. Mayfield, still a young quarterback, needs time to make good decisions with the ball. The offensive line will define if the Browns can effectively pass the ball tonight. 

  • Run Chubb and Hunt relentlessly

The Browns tout two viable NFL running backs. To find success tonight, they need to continuously run with Chubb and Hunt. With the ability to cycle backs, the Browns may boast fresh legs on the field and wear down the Bengals defense. Tonight, an excellent running game will greatly aid the productivity of the Browns offense. 

  • Play Disciplined

Last week, the Browns were roasted on Twitter for facing a 3rd and 41 in the second quarter of their game against the Ravens. Consecutive penalties knocked the Browns out of a scoring opportunity and into the embarrassing down-and-distance. The Browns amassed 80 penalty yards last week, placing them at 26th in the league. For the Browns to be competitive tonight, they must limit their penalties. Further, the Browns need to limit their turnovers. Last week against the Browns turned the ball over three times. In what will be a good matchup tonight, the Browns cannot afford to lose any possessions.