Falcons vs. Browns
QB Matt Ryan and the offense had their best road showing of the season last week. Do you expect their success to continue?
Ryan and the Falcons were clicking on all cylinders last week. I expect them to continue that success against the Browns, who are banged up on the defensive side of the ball. The Browns are also allowing 285 passing yards and 27.4 ppg to opposing teams. Look for Ryan and the offense to build on last week’s success.
Julio finally found the end zone last week. Will this begin a trend of multiple touchdown outings?
It was a beautiful sight to see Julio barrel into the end zone, after almost a year of being scoreless. He should get plenty of chances in this one. Down the road, Julio will face tougher tests in Dallas, Baltimore, and Arizona, but with the Browns banged up, I expect the Falcons to be in the red zone a ton. However, the Falcons will not force Julio the ball with so many weapons at their disposal.
RB Tevin Coleman was a monster last week. Do you expect he and RB Ito Smith to be effective this Sunday?
The Browns give up 138.9 rushing yards per game. Both Ito Smith and Tevin Coleman were clipping over six yards a carry last week. Not to mention, Coleman had 156 total yards from scrimmage and two scores. Both backs should have no problem finding running lanes against this defense. Couple that with the fact that both backs should see plenty of work in the passing game, and that should equal a big day from this backfield.
Atlanta’s defense has held their own the past two contests. Can they find their groove down the stretch?
With the offense Atlanta has, the defense usually has to do just enough to pull out a win. However, the defense showed that it is capable of more last Sunday. With the addition of DE Bruce Irvin this week, Atlanta should find more ways to get pressure on the quarterback. Stalwart LB Deion Jones was also spotted at practice this week and is eligible to return against the Dallas Cowboys. This defense still has plenty of playmakers left and could really make some noise in the last months of the regular season.
Well, hello again everyone. Week 10 is upon us, and I assume if you are still reading matchup previews, you are either well on your way to the playoffs or at least fighting hard to make it there. Well, week 10 is a pretty exciting one for the Browns as they take on the Atlanta Falcons at home on Sunday morning. The Browns have been just shy of being a real football offense all season, but under new OC Freddy Kitchens, things are finally looking up for realsies. So without further ado, let’s see what we can expect.
Baker Mayfield looked much better against the Chiefs on Sunday, but struggled throughout halftime- will this week be much better?
The answer is, of course, a resounding probably. QB Baker Mayfield has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of his last 3 games, but the difference between the performance between last week and the previous 5 weeks was night and day. Mayfield threw just shy of 300 yards against the Chiefs last week, his best performance since week 5, and the Chiefs are actually ascendent defensively. More importantly, Baker took fewer sacks and was able to get the ball out much more quickly. That means the offense is moving with confidence, and if I had to guess they will improve each week until the season is over. While they are not going to win the division, the Bengals and the Ravens are falling apart at the seams, and they could push to finish second. That would be a huge morale boost to everyone on the team, and I think if that goal were in sight, we will see a lot of great football from Cleveland for the first time in a long time. I think Mayfield has about a 30% chance to throw more than 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Falcons have hemorrhaged points to QB’s, WR’s, and pass-catching backs, so I expect a lot of the offensive success to come through the air. Mayfield is a great streamer as a high-end QB2, but I suspect he will finish in the top 10 this week.
Slot receivers eat against the Falcons, is Landry finally a WR1 this week? Is anyone else relevant?
I like WR Jarvis Landry quite a lot this week, yes. Slot receivers against the Falcons have been scoring extremely well, and WR Antonio Callaway has been playing much better lately. I’m not sure if it was nerves or what, but Callaway is starting to catch balls, even in contested situations. He’s still got great speed so he will help keep the field open for Landry, who will likely be the target leader again. Landry has a high chance to get at least 100 yards, and a decent chance to run in a touchdown, as well. I would like to see WR Rashard Higgins get more targets, but he and WR’s Damion Ratley and Breshad Perriman will probably share about 10 targets between them again. That’s ok as it will help the ball move, but Landry is the best bet for a good game, and Callaway is the high boom candidate. His playing time reduced last week, but given that he has been catching his targets for the last few weeks, I expect that even in limited playing time he will still get a fair number of targets. Still only a low-end FLEX play, you could do worse than Antonio Callaway (rhyme intended).
Cleveland’s backfield exploded last week- was it the start of a trend or an anomaly?
While it is hard to say if RB Duke Johnson’s use was a foretelling, I will remind you that Freddy Kitchens was the running backs coach before taking over as OC. He knows what the Duke and RB Nick Chubb are capable of, and with a game plan that focuses on quick passes to help Mayfield avoid sacks, I lean toward trend. I’m also usually overly optimistic about my boys, so take that with a grain of salt, but the Falcons love to let RB’s catch passes. The trends all converge here, from game-plan, to personnel, to defensive weakness, so I don’t think it’s too much to say that at least this week Duke will be featured. Nick Chubb will also see use, even in negative game scripts, as evidenced by his steady touches while trailing against the Chiefs. While the Falcons will be able to score against a now depleted Cleveland defense, Chubb will still be able to get work against a middling ATL run defense.
David Njoku saw 5 targets, his 3rd fewest of the season against the Chiefs- what gives?
Honestly, I do not have an accounting for TE David Njoku’s usage. The Browns passed plenty last week, but the targets were spread out so severely, I don’t know how likely it is that Njoku will appear to be a featured part of the offense. The TE landscape is not great, and even Greg Olsen had a down week, so who knows? I will say that he’s a better play than no-names off the waiver wire, but he’s probably a low-end TE1 at best until we see more consistent usage. Maybe he’s banged up a little as it did appear he hurt his knee toward the end of last week’s contest and he has been limited this week in practice, but I don’t see him doing much more than he did against the Chiefs.
Is the defense collapsing? It’s collapsing, isn’t it? Fire up your Falcons?
Unfortunately, the Browns defense is probably in trouble. They had a lot of guys get hurt last week, including Christian Kirksey who has been playing very well but is now on IR, Denzel Ward who is dealing with a hip injury and may struggle against Calvin Ridley as a result, and EJ Gaines is currently concussed which means we don’t know for sure when he will be back. With Joe Schobert still out, as well, and little depth behind the starters, the Falcons are going to feast. At least it should be a great game! Thank you for reading, I’ll see you at the game.