Week 7: Cleveland Browns At Indianapolis Colts
- QuarterbackBrandon Weeden has taken a lot of abuse in his rookie season, but he has not been overwhelmed by the process. He is competitive and seems to be learning each time he goes out. Weeden was solid in Week Six against the Bengals, leading the Browns to their first win of the season. Weeden sees the field well, throws the ball accurately and has solid timing.Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has more than lived up to the hype. He is not going to have a smooth ride every week, and he learned this against the Jets in Week Six. However, he has full confidence in himself and as strong as his physical talents are, his mental ability is probably his biggest asset.
- OffenseThe Browns should be able to take some of the pressure off of Weeden with their solid ground game. However, Trent Richardson suffered rib cartilage damage and his status early in the week was day-to-day. If he can’t go at full speed, Montario Hardesty is a decent backup. Josh Gordon is a big-play wide receiver who can get away from 1-on-1 coverage.The Colts want to give Luck some relief by providing him with a complementary running game. Vick Ballard had 25 yards in his first game and he needs to be more productive. Reggie Wayne is having a sensational season as Luck’s go-to target. Donnie Avery is a solid go-to receiver who can make the tough catch.
- DefenseThe Browns make a lot of mistakes on defense but they are aggressive and they hit hard. The key to keeping this team competitive throughout the remainder of the season may be the positioning of the defense. Middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has 40 tackles and can range sideline-to-sideline to make plays. He also has 3.0 sacks.The Colts have struggled to stop the run as they are allowing 159.0 yards on the ground per game. However, they have been sharp against the pass, ranking third in fewest passing yards allowed per game. The Colts need to continue to get a big push from defensive end Robert Mathis who has 5.0 sacks and continues to be an excellent speed rusher.
- Special TeamsThe Browns are going to have the edge against most opponents if it comes down to a key return. Josh Cribbs is one of the best return men in the league and he often has his most explosive returns when the game is on the line. Placekicker Phil Dawson is tough and dependable.The Colts have one of the greatest kickers in the history of the game, and Adam Vinatieri continues to be productive. He has made 10-of-13 FG attempts this season, including 3-of-4 from 50 yards and beyond. Pat McAfee is averaging 48.3 yards per punt.
The Colts may have gotten overwhelmed on the road in their Week Six loss to the Jets, but they are a different team at home. They have already registered home wins over Minnesota and Green Bay, and they show more determination and know-how in front of the home crowd. Look for Luck to have a big game against the Browns and the Colts to come away with the victory.