This week, the Cleveland Browns take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at home in a match-up between two 3-6 teams. It’s another game in which Browns fans should expect the team to win, though after last week’s disappointing loss to the St. Louis Rams, it’s hard to be entirely optimistic about Sunday.
When you consider the rest of the Browns season, there aren’t many games left against teams like the Jaguars. After this week, the Browns embark on an AFC North carnival of horror, playing the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers (twice), and Baltimore Ravens (also twice). Save for the Arizona Cardinals game on December 18, game day expectations for a win are going to be at a premium for the rest of the season.
That being said, here are a few key ways in which the Browns can defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday:
1. Stop Maurice Jones-Drew: It’s no secret that the Browns have a porous run defense. In the last two weeks, they’ve been gutted by the likes of Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Steven Jackson, and it doesn’t get any easier on Sunday. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is fourth in the NFL in rushing with 854 yards and is likely licking his chops at the prospect of going up against the Browns’ 30th-ranked run defense. With the worst passing offense in the NFL, stopping Jones-Drew is the key to stopping the Jaguars.
2. Keep up the creativity on offense: Whether or not Pat Shurmur wants to admit it, the creative plays tossed into the offense last Sunday were a huge reason for the Browns even getting a sniff of the end zone. It’s important that the Browns stay imaginative on offense, and while that doesn’t always mean using trick plays, it does mean spreading the defense. The Jaguars certainly aren’t slouches on defense, either, as it is currently the fourth-ranked defense in the NFL. A stagnant, bland offense plays right into Jacksonville’s hands.
3. Score a touchdown: You’d think this would be the most obvious point of all, but the Browns are having severe issues getting the ball into the end zone. They’re having trouble even getting into the red zone. Games aren’t won solely on field goals and they can’t possibly rely on Phil Dawson to try and bail them out of every poor offensive effort. If they can’t score, they won’t win. It’s as simple as that.