The Titans host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, in another example of the NFL’s haves and have-nots. Coming into the season Tennessee and Cleveland were both “chic” fringe picks to make the playoffs, but since then their paths have certainly diverged. Tennessee has performed noticeably above expectations, being the prohibitive favorites to clinch home field advantage for literally months now, while nothing at all has gone Cleveland’s way this year. Luck has had it that the Browns haven’t even been able to give Brady Quinn some garbage playing time because of their inability to keep a QB healthy. This season has brought expectations for the Browns that haven’t been met, and it’s been pretty ugly in the process.
Titans Passing Offense vs. Browns Defense:
The Browns sport a middle-of-the-pack passing defense on paper, but a deeper look inside the numbers shows that not all is bad in the Cleveland secondary. They give up a pedestrian 215 yards per game average, but have only given up 14 passing touchdowns (good for top third in the league) and are tied for third in interceptions with a whopping 17. Is that because they have a ball-hawking secondary that adheres to the “bend but don’t break” philosophy? Probably not. Eric Wright, Sean Jones, Brodney Pool and Brandon McDonald. Sound familiar? Again, probably not. Well, this is the 2008 Cleveland Browns secondary. We’re willing to bet that those gaudy, superficial numbers are somewhat of a statistical anomaly. This is the Browns we’re talking about.
Titans Running Offense vs. Browns Defense:
As we’ve said, Cleveland has been average (at best) against the pass this year. The same can not be said for their run defense. Currently, the Browns own the 26th ranked rushing defense, giving up a generous 141 yards per game (4.4. ypc). These are the type of match ups that get “Twitch” Johnson and LenDale White licking their chops, especially LenDale. What, you thought we’d let that one go?) If games against Kansas City and Detroit are any indication of what is to come, Sunday will be a big one for the two of them. Sunday bloody Sunday.
Browns Passing Offense vs. Titans Defense
Pop quiz hotshot? Who is the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns?
Nick: “Ummm, I’ve got no idea.”
Kellen: “Drew Henson?”
Nick: “What’s your thing with Drew Henson? Hold on, let’s just look it up.”
Type, type, type, type, type…
Nick: “It says here Ken Dorsey.”
Kellen: “Who the heck is Kim Dorsey.”
Nick:”Miramonte High Matador, USA Today Honorable Mention, All-USA selection.”
Kellen: “Oh, KEN Dorsey.”
Browns Rushing Offense vs. Titans Defense
Jamal Lewis started his career with the Browns last year as a bit of a cast-off, performing much better than anyone could have expected. His 1304 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns were a great surprise for a Browns team that was an even better surprise. Well, apparently Lewis goes as the Browns go these days, and his numbers reflect that. Jamal is only averaging 3.6 per carry, with 4 total touchdowns on the season. He’s yet to eclipse the 100 yard mark yet, twelve games into the season. For you Browns fans needing some ray of light, Jerome Harrison (hamstring) should be active for Sunday’s game.
Browns return specialist Joshua Cribbs vs. Titans All-Pro kicker Rob Bironas.
This doesn’t really even make sense, but you get our point.
The Titans can clinch the division with a win at home this week and in doing so, will move one step close to that ever so coveted home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Browns will be looking to play spoiler (sort of) in postponing the Titans AFC South title. They’re looking for a little payback against the team that took the final wild card spot from them in last year’s playoffs.
I don’t think the Browns are really playing for much of anything at this point in the season. Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage are probably experiencing their last weeks as Cleveland Browns, and I’m not sure that Browns players or fans have a problem with that.
Titans win 31-13.