4 min

Prelude to the Browns vs Titans on Sep 20, 2015

I predicted the #browns would win week one at the NY Jets by a score of 17-13.

It's not a total shock that the Browns lost, but the score was a surprise. Jets won 31-10.

The Browns running game by its running backs was non-existent. The top two Browns rushers were quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown. In fact, McCown was still the leading Browns rusher with 10 minutes left in the game, and Josh got knocked out of the game, late in the first quarter.

Halftime score was Jets 14 and Browns 10. It should have been Browns 17 and Jets 7.

I was surprised that the Jets ran over the Browns defense in the second half. The Browns rushing defense was poor in 2014, but it was suppose to be improved this year. That did not appear to be the case in week one.

Game 2 vs Titans

Tennessee and rookie QB Mariota won at Tampa Bay, pretty big.

And now the Titans play another road game. If TN wins at Cleveland, I think it will be some kind of rare feat that a rookie QB won its first two games of his career with both games being played on the road. It would be a great start for TN.

But the standard operating behavior after week one in the NFL is knee-jerk overreactions.

Mariota is headed to the Hall of Fame.

The Seahawks need to fire head coach Pete Carroll.

The Browns need to blow up the coaching staff and management.

After only the first game of the regular season.

I predict the Browns win on Sunday by a score of 21 to 17.

Once again for the Browns to have a chance of winning, the defense will need to hold the opponent to under 20 points or at least to no more than 20 to 24 points.

New Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau used a poor scheme a few years ago in the playoffs against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos who upset the Steelers in overtime.

LeBeau should have played a simple, base defense against Tebow, instead of blitzing hard. Tebow completed enough passes that were big plays to beat the Steelers, including the game-winning play in overtime.

LeBeau coached arrogantly in that Bronco game, and he refused to believe that Tebow could complete another big pass play.

McCown is still going through the NFL's concussion protocol. He may be cleared to play tomorrow, Fri, Sep 18. I suppose that Josh will QB on Sunday.

But if Manziel starts, what kind of defense will LeBeau use?

Last week vs the Jets, it seemed that the Jets defense did better against Manziel when the Jets only rushed four guys and the lineman maintained their lanes. The pocket would collapse around Manziel, who couldn't find the passing lanes to make a throw, and he wasn't able to scramble well.

Some of this due to a lack of experience. Missing the final two preseason games due to an elbow injury hampered Manziel's development.

Anyway, when the Jets rushed more than four, Manziel would either run for a gain or scramble to complete a pass. JM seemed to due better against more pressure.

If Manziel starts vs the Titans, maybe LeBeau will blitz like mad, and if that happens, then I think that Manziel can burn the Titans.

The Browns have speedy receivers who should be able to get open when Manziel scrambles against a blitz. The Browns could convert some big plays with short passes and big runs after the catch.

Against Tampa Bay, Mariota completed 13 of 16 passes for 209 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. QB rating of 158.3.

But it was only 13 pass completions. Clearly, they were efficient passes. TN won 42-14.

Now Tampa Bay is probably one of the worst teams in the league, but the Browns may not be much better. But the Browns secondary should play better than Tampa Bay's.

Against TB, TN netted a 124 yards rushing, which averaged 3.9 yards per rush. If TN averages about 4 yards per rush against the Browns, then Cleveland will be in trouble.

Mariota only rushed for 6 yards vs TB.

TN's main rusher was Bishop Sankey who rushed 12 times for 74 yards, which was an average of 6.2 yards per rush.

If the Browns cannot rush the all with their running backs, then that may spell trouble for Cleveland too.

The Browns need to be able to rush the ball some and slow the rush by TN.

Browns 2015 schedule

In week 1, the home team went 10-6.

I still think that Browns win this Sunday and again the following Sunday at home vs the Raiders. Then Cleveland loses game 4 at San Diego.

With a relatively easy schedule in the first quarter of the season, the Browns should start 2-2.

The knee-jerk, reactionary Browns fans and media will feel a lot better on Monday if Cleveland wins and neutralizes Mariota. In fact, the Browns fans will probably be talking playoffs after one win.

Now if the Browns lose on Sunday vs TN, well ... It better be a close loss and not a rout. Otherwise, the pitchforks will be out.

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