The Cleveland Browns have a golden opportunity on Sunday. Going up against the 1-7 St. Louis Rams, the Browns have the chance to silence some of their critics by taking care of business against what appears to be an inferior opponent (at least record-wise).
And if they lose? Well, it’s not going to be pretty.
Here are five ways the Browns can defeat the St. Louis Rams on Sunday:
1) Run, run, run - If you thought the Browns’ run defense was bad, they go up against the worst in the league on Sunday. Even without Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty, the Browns need to run the ball, and they need to do so with authority. A good day on the ground means there might be something there with either Chris Ogbonnaya or Thomas Clayton. If they can’t get it done against the worst run defense in the league, then the Browns are in an even worse spot than we thought.
2) Put together long drives - This goes hand-in-hand with running the ball, but it’s imperative that the Browns create sustained drives that keep the defense off the field. The defense has been gassed in recent weeks, and it will have its hands full with Steven Jackson.
3) Stop the run - Just as the Browns are looking to run, so too are the St. Louis Rams. Lucky for them, their workhorse running back Steven Jackson is healthy and ready to steamroll a Browns defense that was gutted for 261 rushing yards last week against the Houston Texans. With a much better pass defense, the Browns have a great chance of winning if they can simply contain Jackson and Cadillac Williams.
4) Give Colt McCoy time to throw - The once-solid offensive line has been in shambles this season, making Colt McCoy’s first season as a starter a real nightmare. That being said, when they can provide any protection whatsoever, McCoy is able to make plays.
5) Score some points – Simply put, the offense needs to score. They’ve been stuck in the mud for weeks, and Sunday’s game gives them their best chance to finally break out of the slump. And you thought we were past the point of wondering whether or not the Browns would ever be able to score two touchdowns in a game again.
This might seem like the most obvious keys to victory you’ve ever seen, but that’s really all it takes to win in the National Football League. Browns fans have been so accustomed to losing that it has been forgotten just what it takes to win. Maybe the Browns will re-discover that secret formula against the Rams.