The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Saints vs Browns – Week 2 – Defend Cleveland Preview

 Saints vs Browns

 

Remember when the NFL season was all about football? Weren’t those the days. Now TMZ reports and the PR scramble and legal agendas that respond to them dominate the storylines with a noise that has nothing to do with the game played on the field whatsoever. What we have here as the Browns and every team in the league prepares for Week 2 action is a lingering offseason hangover that’s consuming what football on Sunday (and Monday, and Thursday, and any and all nights added hereafter) is supposed to be all about. A distraction from how horrible things can be in the real world. Instead the real world is the news and the games so far are secondary.

This is not to say that a zero tolerance domestic violence policy and a rational new drug policy aren’t critically important to the overall health of the league (and apparently the overall piece of mind in this country as well), it’s just that it’s time to go officially on record in saying I’m beyond ready for some football. Let’s face it, the NFL having become the front and center default moral pace setter of our country over that of the public holding more accountable its morally bankrupt and corrupted for profit legal system which operates under an antiquated state of federal law totally out of touch with reality, is as sickening as seeing the “inside the elevator” video played on a constant loop by so-called news outlets all week long. How about we get our priorities straight, shall we? And when it comes to professional football. The sport. One team versus another. Let’s just hope what’s left to the season can be mostly played out on the field.

 

Matchups to Watch For

 

– Drew Brees vs. the world. Last week, much like every week Brees is under center for the Saints, his list of “favorite targets” to throw to was well beyond that of your average QB. Between Cooks, Thomas, Colston and Graham he had 4 different guys ranging from both wide-out spots, to tight end and half back, running routes at all levels all over the field and he targeted each one of them at least 7 times. By comparison, Hoyer only had one target he favored as much. Andrew Hawkins. Of course we know when it comes to Hoyer’s options he’s better off at Mr. Hero’s than what GM Ray Farmer has on the menu for him, but what does this mean for a Browns defense who were shredded in the 1st half against the Steelers? Doom. It most likely spells doom.

As much as we had hoped that Pettine’s defense would right away live up to billing, the bottom line fact of the matter here in Week 2 is that if they don’t get the as advertised pressure on the QB, Drew Brees will pick you apart all day long. Blitzing won’t work either, as Brees is too cerebral and releases the ball too quick for it to work with any regularity. Besides all this scariness, did you happen to notice that no one looked all that good in coverage for the Browns last week? Gilbert? He was so bad the team basically stated, “We’ll try to limit his plays”, which basically translates to, “We still think we didn’t waste the 8th overall pick in the draft, but we’d also like to think the team didn’t waste the 6th overall last year when we picked Mingo.”

If there’s no pressure from rushing only 4-5 guys and the coverage isn’t much tighter than we’ve seen, Brees will put up crazy numbers today. Which is only a good thing if he’s your fantasy quarterback.

 

The Browns special teams vs. Embarrassment. The last couple years we were blessed with the full Weeden to offer us highlights each week that were so bad they were great. Trapped under a 60 yard long flag. Flipping the ball forward so unthinkably then doing it again, and again. Weeden offering us the most horrible and embarrassing plays to replay over and over in awe was his biggest gift to us in Cleveland. With him gone, though we had hoped an overall improvement would immediately take place, instead we Week 1 end up with Spencer Lanning getting kicked in the face as a top Browns Fail replay and essentially pick up right where we left off.

 

Metaphors

 

So amazing. If you haven’t watched this replay at least 20 times since last Sunday, I question your sense of humor.

Though this highlight jumps out and lands directly on the epic fail list, literally, the rest of the special teams play wasn’t much better against the Steelers. In many ways given the 2nd half come back, if not for the overall poor special teams by the Browns, you could argue they would have won the game. Granted it’s going to take a lot more than solid special teams play to beat the Saints, but if what we’ve seen so far doesn’t immediately improve, this year close games we would have lost anyway will end up as blowouts and games we should have won will end up as close losses. In Cleveland if that plays out all season we know what happens next. Hello new coaches, new system, and here we go again all over again.

 

The Prediction

 

Last year I was 8-8 predicting against the line and this year I’m already 0-1. Today we draw back to .500, however, by picking the Saint’s at -6.5. Sadly all the things we need to have happen won’t be enough even if they do because the Saints are just that good and the Browns are just that bad. We should be able to run the ball effectively and if Cleveland gets pressure on Brees and forces a couple turnovers the game could end up close, but the firepower of the Saints offense by the end will simply overwhelm the Browns. Final score, Saints 31 – Browns 17.

Happy Home Opener, Browns fans!

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 Sep 14 2014. 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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