What To Watch For: Buccaneers at Browns

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fresh coming off their bye week. This after building some momentum with a two game winning streak to get them back to .500 at 5-5 overall. Now they prepare for the second half of their schedule and travel to Cleveland to take on the 3-7 Browns.

 

While this looks like a winnable game on paper, we’ve seen the Bucs consistently struggle with teams they’re expected to beat this season. Will that trend continue after the bye? Or has this time allowed the team to look in the mirror and make the necessary adjustments?

This game will prove to be a good barometer. The Browns are a talented roster who can’t be taken lightly. We look at how the Buccaneers matchup.

The Buccaneers’ Front Seven vs The Browns’ Rushing Attack

 

This game will be decided in the trenches. Specifically the Browns impressive offensive line against the Buccaneers imposing defensive line. This is a heavyweight fight that both teams feel is a strength.

 

With guys like Wyatt Teller, Jack Conclin, and Joel Bitonio (who have all been Pro Bowlers in their careers) the Browns have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. They are as powerful and physical as you will find. This is the foundation of an excellent rushing offense led by Nick Chubb who is a perfect match with his downhill running style.

 

The strength of Vita Vea and Akiem Hicks has to be on full display this week. This might be the most powerful pair of defensive tackles in the league to counter this Browns’ interior offensive line. Winning upfront and allowing Devin White and Lavonte David to fly around and make tackles is the key to this game.

 

The Jacoby Brissett And Amari Cooper Combination

 

This is the final week that quarterback Deshaun Watson will be serving his suspension. This means that Brissett, who has started every game this season, will be under center. This is good that they won’t see Watson, but Brissett has been no slouch this year.

 

In ten games Brissett has thrown for 2,400 yards and 11 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. Those aren’t numbers you might expect from a career backup. Part of that is due to who he’s throwing to.

 

Amari Cooper is a four time Pro Bowler and is one of the better wide receivers in the league. He has nearly 700 yards and 7 touchdowns this season. He is the biggest weapon in the passing game for Cleveland.

 

Slowing this duo down will be important. Both Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean are decent matchups and should be able to hold their own. This will be a fun battle to watch.

 

Myles Garrett vs Literally Anyone 

 

Myles Garrett might be the best defensive player in the NFL. His size, strength and athletic ability are all excellent. He is a mismatch for basically anyone in the league.

 

Perhaps one of those players is Bucs right tackle Tristan Wirfs. If these two face off it will be a clash of titans. However, it seems unlikely that the Browns will intentionally line Garrett up over the Buccaneers best lineman.

 

It will be the rest of the offensive line that has to find a way to limit Garrett. This will have to be a team effort through double teams and running back chips. Any one on one rep for Garrett is an advantage for the Browns.

 

Overall

 

Even with a backup quarterback and a bad overall record, the Browns aren’t a team to be taken lightly. They are strong in the trenches and have more than a few Pro Bowl caliber players.

 

This game will be very telling for the Bucs and what type of adjustment they make out of the bye week. Have they righted the ship or will they continue to be their own worst enemy. We will find out soon.

 

I expect this to be a close game. However, I believe the Buccaneers will be able to lean on their running game vs a Browns defense that allows the 5th most yards per rushing attempt in the NFL.

 

Prediction 

Buccaneers – 24
Browns – 20

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