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Heading into this past weekend, the Cleveland Browns had been struggling and the Baltimore Ravens were playing well. Most gave Cleveland no chance to win. However, unlike most years, Cleveland came out swinging and managed pull off what’s deemed an upset victory.
How did they do it? This is Eye On The Browns: Browns Notes, week 4!
1. Against the Ravens, Cleveland’s offense looked like it where it left off last season. While they’ve gotten better week after week, they didn’t incorporate the run as much as they should have in the first few games. When they finally started running the ball this week, it opened up the pass game and quarterback Baker Mayfield looked comfortable.
Coincidentally, it took a week four break out game by half back Nick Chubb last year to put the offense into motion as well. Last year in week four, on three handoffs, Chubb ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Week four this year: 20 carries, 165 yards rushing and three touchdowns. It earned him the starting job last year. This performance needs to earn him more carries.
2. Can the NFL finally recognize that linebacker Joe Schobert is top linebacker in today’s NFL? He had 17 tackles against Baltimore, including nine solo and one for a sack. He’s now tied with Carolina’s Luke Kuechly for fourth in the NFL in tackles behind Arizona’s Jordan Hicks, Green Bay’s Blake Martinez and Seattle’s Bobby Wagner. He may not be a Ray Lewis-type force but he’s more than earned his due the past couple of years.
3. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has continued to make the Cleveland defense whole. In addition to holding quarterback Lamar Jackson to under 250 yards passing, they also did something that no team has done this year: intercepted him.
Last year Cleveland weas near the top in terms of turnovers but near the bottom everywhere else. This year their passing defense and turnovers are in the top ten so far, they’re in the top half of points allowed, with their only downside still being rush defense. These next few weeks could change everything but Wilks is looking like he was the right choice for defensive coordinator.
Looking Ahead To Next Week: Monday Night Football, @San Francisco 49ers
Cleveland is finally getting time in the spot light as they play their third prime time game, against the top team in the NFC West, San Francisco.
Contrary to popular belief, the Browns hold an advantage against San Francisco, as they’ve played the pass well. However, if Cleveland is going to have any success, they’ll need to shut down the run. San Francisco is second in rushing yards, only behind Baltimore. If Cleveland can hold tough against the run, they’ll have a very good shot at another upset.
The 49ers suffer from very similar circumstances as Baltimore: a weak early schedule. They’ve got a top three defense but it’s hard to measure from the first three opponents (Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh). If the Browns stick to this week’s game plan on offense, they may show that San Francisco’s success could be from the schedule.
The predictions are showing a similar result to the Baltimore Ravens game, mainly picking San Francisco to beat Cleveland. The Browns have thrived as the underdogs this year, so this could be a great game.
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