The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Lions vs Browns – Week 6 – DC Show Preview

Weeden vs Detroit

 

Guess who’s back under center and smiling? Oh, Brandon Weeden, and here we thought we’d seen the last of you as a Browns starter, hell, most were even outright hoping for it. Now you’re back, however, and facing a pretty good Detroit team, and the biggest concern for fans this week is that how well you play looks like it might be the difference in this game ending up a win, or, well, ending like the first two weeks with you under center.

The main problem with Weed’s, as noted by the entire planet at this point, is that he just doesn’t get rid of the ball quickly enough. My take on this is that it seems Brandon is not reacting to the situation, but rather having to think about it first. In the professional sports world in general, this is never a good thing. And at the quarterback position in specific, having a slow process is worse than having a weak arm and bad aim, because what’s the point of having a cannon of an arm and the accuracy of a marksmen if you end up giving the defense enough time to avalanche the pocket before you decide where to fire.

Unless Weeden can somehow get the mental side of the game to “click” all of a sudden, something that seems unlikely at best from what we’ve seen so far, the chances of his giving the organization pause in their pursuit for a franchise quarterback come the next draft appears remote at best. Given that there is still, if by definition alone, a chance he can put it altogether and stave off the career backup status, playing a strong game and leading his team to victory against a team they match up well against in Detroit, is clearly the first step. It’s also about the only step available to him to help squelch out all the boos he’ll hear otherwise.

Can he do it? What are the odds? It honestly might come down to how well Calvin Johnson plays, if he plays at all, and not Weeden.

Key Matchups to Watch Out For

– Calvin Johnson vs his knee injury, and, Joe Haden – It’s quite simple really, if Calvin Johnson, the best receiver in the game, is healthy enough to play, this Detroit team is a totally different team. With him in 4 games this season the Lions are 3-1 and average 30.5 points a game, without, and they only mustered 9 point against the Packers last week, a team with a 24th ranked defense who prior to facing the handicapped Lions was allowing an average of 26 pts a game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the last three years for his QB Matthew Stafford couldn’t be more night and day like this in the games Johnson has missed, as Stafford’s sack rate doubles, his completion percentage significantly drops, as does his yard per completion, and his total QBR plummets from 62.4 to 11.2. The bigger problem for Johnson (who’s currently listed as “Questionable”, aka, 50/50 odds he plays), is that even if he does play he’s set to get a full dose of Joe Haden who’s been busy each week so far campaigning for the Pro Bowl. Having already shut down Mike Wallace, Torrey Smith and A.J. Green, you can bet Haden is very much looking to prove himself against the best in the game yet again. A non-100% Johnson with the Lions also missing their #2 receiver in Nate Burleson, and Joe is sure to be liking his odds of shutting down half the field.

– Detroit’s defensive line vs the Browns offensive line, and however long it ends up taking Weeden to get rid of the damn ball – With Shawn Lauvao thankfully returning to right guard (something after the last two seasons I never thought I’d be thankful for), the Browns line seems equipped to keep Detroit’s defensive strength and their 4-3 defensive set in check. Suh is without question one of the more disruptive forces alive, and being paired with Fairley and Ansah who end up with an easier path to the QB given all the attention Suh commands, Joe Thomas and crew will definitely have their hands full on Sunday but it’s a task they can certainly manage. The real question comes down to just how long Weed’s needs on Sunday to find his targets against Detroit’s pass coverage. As I said to start, if Weeden is able to command the pocket the Browns can and will beat Detroit, which I believe he should have a good chance to do so because the Lions secondary is banged up and reliant upon strong safety play in coverage to account for their issues at corner. This being the case, Jordan Cameron could have a field day, and as long as Bess and Little can hold on to the ball, routes over the middle, quick slants and post routes might be there for Weeden all afternoon. That is if his line can keep the Lions tamed long enough for Weed’s to make up his mind with what to do with the ball. If not, it could be a long afternoon, that is if Weeden doesn’t find himself injured again, since being on the wrong end of an attacking Suh isn’t good for anyone’s health.

 

Prediction

I’m now 3-2 and along with the Browns, I’m rolling on a 3 game winning streak in picking the spread. Even with Weeden back and the justified dread that’s carried along in tow, I’m not looking to see this fun end. Last night recording DCF with Joe I predicted a total of around 40 points for the game with Detroit edging out the Browns. What can I say, we record late at night and like most fans, Weeden being back scares the hell out of me. Now though, with a night to sleep on it and yet more hours dedicated to researching this matchup, I believe it will be the Browns who are victorious. It might not be the prettiest of affairs, but I feel with the game in Cleveland and Detroit’s strengths being its passing game that’s seriously questioned due to health, and their defensive strength equaled by our line’s strong pass protection, I think to lose this game Weeden is going to have to go out and play one of his worst games ever. Though many fans might expect this, I do not. Expect Cameron to have a great game, Gordon to have at least one big play we’ll all be talking about afterwards, and expect this Browns defense to give their offense every chance to win this one to go 4-2.

The spread opened at +3 Browns and the degenerate gamblers have pushed it to +2.5, I say take the points, take the Browns, and then look forward to Monday morning and yet another 1st place Monday Defend Cleveland show!

Oh how I love those 1st place Monday shows.

Go Browns.

-Mike James

Listen every Friday to “Defend Cleveland Friday with Mike and Joe”  by clicking here, a weekly hour long Cleveland sports podcast companion to the DC Show that’s the best way to end you week, and the only way to begin your weekend.

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Posted by on Oct 11 2013. Filed under Featured, Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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