Tale Of The Tape: Cleveland Browns At Green Bay Packers
- QuarterbackBrandon Weeden has been competitive, he has fought for his job and he has played the role of good soldier for the Cleveland Browns. However, in the Browns’ Week Six loss to the Detroit Lions, Weeden looked desperate and unprofessional when he flipped a late throw towards the sidelines and suffered a horrendous interception. He’s simply not a quarterback who can be trusted.Aaron Rodgers is once again one of the most accurate and productive quarterbacks in the NFL. While he may not have the receiving crew he once had, he has been helped by a running game that had been missing. Rodgers has a quick release, is completing 64.1 percent of his passes and has a 10-4 TD-interception ratio.
- OffenseThe Browns' offense took a step backwards in the second half of the Week Six loss to Detroit. Running back Willis McGahee did not get his carries and that allowed the Detroit defense to simply come after Weeden. Tight end Jordan Cameron is a touchdown machine with five scores, while Josh Gordon is the team’s most productive downfield receiver.The Packers are no longer a one-dimensional offense. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy gives the Packers a solid running game and it’s clear that he takes a burden off of Rodgers. Jordy Nelson has long been one of Rodgers’ favorite receivers and he has caught 27 passes for 484 yards and 4 TDs. Randall Cobb suffered a broken leg in Week Six, but the Packers are hoping James Jones (leg) can play.
- DefenseThe Browns have played solid defense for most of the season as they rank seventh in yards allowed. Middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has 57 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Defensive end Desmond Bryant is the team’s best pass rusher with 3.5 sacks. Strong safety T.J. Ward has 36 tackles, 7 passes defended and 2 interceptions, including one for a touchdown.The Packers have played a much more physical brand of defense than they have in the past and they are ranked third against the run. While outside linebacker Clay Matthews (broken thumb) is out, inside linebacker A.J. Hawk has 42 tackles and 3.0 sacks. Cornerback Sam Shields' eight passes defensed and an interception.
- Special TeamsThe Browns have been solid on their coverage teams, and that’s a necessity when you are playing with a below average offense. Billy Cundiff is holding his own as a placekicker, having made 9-of-11 FG attempts, but his career record is not impressive.The Packers have been disciplined in their kickoff and punt coverage. Placekicker Mason Crosby has rebounded from his disastrous 2012 season by making 13-of-14 FG attempts. Tim Masthay is averaging 47.5 yards per punt.
The Browns played competitively against the Vikings, Bengals and Bills, but they fell apart in the second half against the Lions. Now they go on the road against one of the NFC’s top teams, and they are going to be pushed hard from the start. This could prove to be a long game for Cleveland. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor