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Playoffs
11-05-2011, 11:17 AM
Three to Focus on – Browns @ Texans, Week 9
November 4th, 2011 | Author: Gordon McGuinness

We’re still waiting for the Houston Texans to separate themselves in the AFC South. It looked a near certainty when we learned that Peyton Manning was out for the Indianapolis Colts, but then Andre Johnson got hurt. Then Mario Williams went down for the season. Then came a demoralising loss against Baltimore. Since then, they have reeled off two convincing divisional wins, yet they are still only a half game ahead of the Tennessee Titans.

The Cleveland Browns on the other hand are already two and a half games away the division leading Pittsburgh Steelers and two games back from Baltimore and Cincinnati. Yet the Browns’ 3-4 record can be viewed as somewhat of a success, especially when you consider that they have done it without Peyton Hillis hurdling defenders for much of the season. They’ve found some real players from the draft this year and look to be a team on the rise and this week will be a good test to see just how far they have come along. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the three areas to focus on this week.
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1) Cleveland’s Cornerbacks v Houston’s Wide Receivers
It doesn’t look like we’ll see Andre Johnson (+6.5) this week again which is a real shame. Johnson going up against Cleveland’s Joe Haden (+5.8) would have been fascinating to watch. Outside of Johnson, I doubt that Houston has a receiver that can challenge Haden (who was highlighted as a starter on PFF founder Neil Hornsby’s early Pro Bowl cheat sheet). Working primarily from the left cornerback spot, Haden has allowed only 15 catches on 37 targets so far this season. Impressively, of the 22 incompletion in passes thrown at him, Haden has 10 pass breakups, including a staggering five against Cincinnati in week one. Opposite of Haden, Sheldon Brown has surprisingly been targeted less than Haden but has also yielded just 15 catches. When Brown has been beaten however, he averages giving up 16.7 yards per catch. If Johnson is indeed out again, then it’ll be up to Kevin Walter (+1.1) and Jacoby Jones (-2.0) to try and make plays against Brown and Haden. Jones is more likely to make a big play, with a 15.4 yard per catch average, but he’s only caught 50% of the passes thrown his way; whereas Walter averages 12.5 yards per catch but 69.7% of the passes thrown in his direction have been caught. The Texans need one of them to step up and make plays against Haden and Brown.
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2) Connor Barwin v Joe Thomas
Injury has robbed us of yet another marquee matchup here. Seeing Joe Thomas go toe to toe with Mario Williams all game long would have been something to savour, but the Texans’ loss is the Browns gain. Thomas (+8.1) had a three week period between weeks two and four where he struggled more than we have come to expect as a pass blocker giving up nine total pressures. Yet in the other four games this season, he has allowed just a single pressure, including a flawless last two weeks indicating that he is back to his best. Thomas’ primary opponent this week will be Houston linebacker Connor Barwin (-3.4) who has struggled to replace Williams so far. Barwin has managed just three total pressures in his last two games after seven against Baltimore. He needs to find a way to get to Colt McCoy to help the Texans on Sunday.
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3) Talented Rookies
Both teams have managed to make good use of their draft picks on defensive linemen this past April. In Houston, J.J. Watt (+6.3) has lived up to his first round draft tag with three sacks, one hit and 16 pressures on opposing quarterbacks so far this year. But it has been his impressive play in the run game (+5.2) that has shone through the most. For Cleveland, they got more value from their second round pick than their first so far. Phil Taylor (+3.6) started the year with an impressive game against Cincinnati but has since slowed down. He doesn’t look like a bad draft choice it’s just that he isn’t playing as well as second round pick Jabaal Sheard (+9.0). Sheard’s production has also slowed in the last few games after a fast start that included a nine pressure day against Miami. He has missed just 35 of the Browns defensive snaps this season, perhaps he could benefit from a reduced workload. The Browns could really use one of their two early draft picks to step back into their early season form this week.
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http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/11/04/three-to-focus-on-browns-texans-week-9/

ObsiWan
11-05-2011, 11:21 AM
Damn....
Now I'm more worried.

(rep for the find though)

Playoffs
11-05-2011, 11:40 AM
Damn....
Now I'm more worried.

This might help a little:

As bad as the Colts, Dolphins, and Rams had looked for most of the season on offense, how about the Browns? The only time they scored over 20 points was against the Colts. In the other six games, Cleveland averages just 13.3 points per game. Houston’s defense, meanwhile, has done a good job of keeping bad offenses down (as a quality team should be able to do), limiting the Colts, Dolphins, and Jaguars to a combined 34 points.

It does feel a little like a trap game, though. I think Colt will get some crowd support, and I think I (oddly) meet more Cleveland fans here than other teams outside of Jerruh's Boys.

thunderkyss
11-05-2011, 12:13 PM
I really like how their analysis & summary are based on match-ups

The Pencil Neck
11-05-2011, 12:16 PM
It does feel a little like a trap game, though. I think Colt will get some crowd support, and I think I (oddly) meet more Cleveland fans here than other teams outside of Jerruh's Boys.

That's the thing about the Browns. You've got to love their fans.

When we lived in Phoenix a long, long time ago, we made the mistake of going to a Sports Bar just down the street from us to be able to watch an Oiler-Browns football game.

The place was crawling with Browns fans dressed up like the Dog Pound. My darling wife was, of course, talking SMACK the entire time and it was verging on the ugly.

:kubepalm:

But the Browns have a fanbase that's nation-wide and long suffering.

hradhak
11-05-2011, 05:03 PM
We've certainly faced our fair share of teams with completely inept offenses. The Browns are like the Jags with a worse rushing game. Colt McCoy is not very good and his o coordinator has not been helping and neither have his receivers. We gotta get a lead and then force them to pass. Same kinda recipe that we had against the Jags.