Note: On NNR today Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports & I previewed the Browns/Falcons and other games this week. The podcast is on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
Before the loss to the Texans last week most Browns fans would have said ‘Of course the Browns can win.’ Now I am not that sure they will win.
There are positive factors going into the game including the return of WR Josh Gordon. The biggest impact of Gordon’s return will be on the running game. It is unlikely that the Falcons or anyone else will feel free to bring 9 or 10 defenders into the box with Gordon on the field. Given the lack of productivity of the Falcon secondary, they will be very aware of Gordon.
Without the ability of the defense to over load the box, the Browns SHOULD be able to run the ball. But the Browns have struggled to run the ball since the loss of C Alex Mack. But the problem running the ball has not been limited to his replacement Nick McDonald. The issue has spread like a bad cold all along the O line. It will be up to RB Isaiah Crowell and others to take full advantage of the reduced defensive presence in the box.
The biggest question is can the Browns D backfield cover the outstanding passing game of the Falcons?
The Falcons have two outstanding wide outs including Julio Jones and Roddy White. While I expect Joe Haden to be able to limit one of them, will the other CB candidates be able to limit the other? While CB K’Waun Williams has been a free agent jewel, 1st round pick (8th overall) Justin Gilbert has struggled badly. One of them will need to step up and perform if the Brows are to win.
The running game of the Falcons has not produced much. That is good news for the Browns having lost both ILB Karlos Dansby and OLB Jabaal Sheard last week. The Browns D line has been decimated by injuries as well. The D will have to have their best day of the year to win the game.
Will the Browns win? I doubt it. The Browns have struggled badly in dome games. In addition they seem to fold when facing a road game. The Falcons are very beatable. The question is are the Browns strong enough physically and mentally to beat them?
That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.
NOTE: News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK. Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend. My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports. Podcasts can be heard on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. Thanks for your support.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.