Coached by Dennis Allen, the Oakland Raiders host the Cleveland Browns in the Black Hole this Sunday. With identical records, these two teams are playing for pride and respect. Here’s what it’s going to take to beat the silver and black on Sunday.
Sunday could not be a better time for Trent Richardson to have the best game of his NFL career. Oakland is ranked 28th in the league in rush defense. Cleveland must pound the ball over and over again. A back like Richardson will wear out the Raiders’ defense by halftime if they give him the opportunity.
Cleveland needs to use Montario Hardesty as change of pace back. The Browns gelling offensive line should be able to open up mammoth size holes for both of them on Sunday. Rookie Mitchell Schwartz is doing a fine job run blocking on the right side, so mix it up. Richardson will once again be a huge key to winning.
The Browns have to stop with the conservativeness and take some shots down field. Pat Shurmur must end his way of thinking with settling for field goals. There will be plenty of opportunities to do so. Slowly but surely, weapons are starting to form on offense. Cleveland would be smart to use guys like Jordan Cameron, Josh Gordon, and Travis Benjamin.
Of particular importance Cleveland needs to get ahead early and control the pace of the game. The Browns need a fast start. Going down early and playing from behind in the Black Hole is not a wise decision. Part of starting fast will be starting field position. Josh Cribbs and the special teams have to make that happen.
The Browns’ defense has had two solid games in row creating nine turnovers and eight sacks in both games combined. The defense is picking up major steam and should continue to put the pedal to the metal in this contest. Pressuring a flustered Carson Palmer will work wonders and errors will be made. Led by TJ Ward, the Cleveland defense needs to keep swiping for the football. If Darren McFadden does not play, there is zero threat in the Raiders backfield.
Joe Haden and the secondary must shut down at least one of the Raiders’ wide outs. Denarius Moore would be the preferred receiver. The Raiders are full of Al Davis‘ speed demons and can beat you over the top. Underneath, the Cleveland linebackers need to blanket Oakland tight end Brandon Myers. Without McFadden, the Raiders are a pass happy team. Do not get in to a shoot out them.
Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. Stop with the unnecessary drive killing penalties. This game is Cleveland’s for the taking. One thing that will prevent them from doing so will be continuously shooting themselves in the foot. Do not beat yourselves.
The Raiders are coming off a horrible loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. so the Browns must be prepared. The Browns need to kick them while their down. There is not much confidence in the Oakland locker room. Their morale is completely different than the Browns’ morale. Cleveland needs to keep on believing they can win and execute. The Browns could very easily have had five or six wins on the year.
In these last five games, the excuse of being the youngest team in football is out the window. The Browns have led in the third quarter of three of the last four contests. Find a way to close out football games. Playing it safe is the complete opposite of that. This is a winnable game and most Browns fans expect a “W” this Sunday.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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