The Patriots have excelled in the red zone on offense. Clearly, this has to do with tight end Rob Gronkowski and his sizable frame which has tortured defensive backs in the past. Thankfully for the Browns, Gronkowski has struggled in recent weeks, opening up opportunities for other less-threatening New England receivers. This bodes well for the Browns in a way, but the Patriots always seem to find a way to get it done in the red zone.
Still, for the Browns, holding New England to field goals when they enter the confines of the red zone would be a major positive. This means that the Browns will need solid play from their secondary, especially Joe Haden and Jordan Poyer. These defenders will be assigned to New England’s top threats, but will likely be moved around based on the resilience of Brady’s offense.
As the game moves on, it will become increasingly inevitable that the Browns will not always be able to slow down the electric passing attack of the Patriots, or their bruising ground game anchored by LeGarrette Blount, despite his recent ailment. But what the Browns can do is find a way to get off the field in the red zone. Holding the Patriots to three points would be a major confidence boost at an important time, and if the Browns can do this consistently, they may even give themselves the opportunity to stay in the game.