Browns vs. Titans: DPD staff predictions for the Week 6 matchup

Sep 20, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) gets the ball knocked loose while attempting a pass during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) gets the ball knocked loose while attempting a pass during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

The DPD staff got together to share their predictions for the Week 6 meeting between the Cleveland Browns and the Tennessee Titans.

The Cleveland Browns are still looking to win a game in 2016, and today’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans may be one of the best remaining chances to do just that.

The Browns have defeated the Titans in both 2014 and 2015, but the Titans are improving, while the Browns are going in the opposite direction.

The Dawg Pound Daily staff once again got together to share their predictions for this Week 6 matchup. And once again, the Browns aren’t getting too much love.

Jonathan Goehring (2016 record: 3-2): Titans 41, Browns 20

The first win is coming soon, but not this week. The Titans have an underrated defense which will hold the Browns in check, even with Cody Kessler continuing to make strides. The biggest problem for the Browns though in this game will be the rushing attack Tennessee brings with DeMarco Murray, mixed with the big tight end in Delanie Walker, who will give the Browns fits on defense.

Also, since the Browns’ secondary normally gives up massive games to little-known players, plenty of Titan receivers have a perfect opportunity. Marcus Mariota presents both an above-average arm and well-above-average scrambling ability for a young player. The Titans have struggled to score early on this season, but running into the Browns defense will be just what they need. It won’t be pretty, Cleveland fans.

The game will remain within reach after three quarters, as it will be 31-20, but the Titans will pull away in the fourth with more explosive plays, making the score lopsided.

Tom Moore (2016 record: 5-0): Titans 31, Browns 10

The last time that the Cleveland Browns visited Nashville, they walked off the field the holders of the greatest road comeback in NFL history.

Fast-forward two years and the Browns return to Jimmy Haslam’s home state not concerned with record-setting performances, but rather simply looking for their first win of the season.

In what was fully expected to be a long season, the fates have conspired to make it even worse for Cleveland. The philosophy of “next man up” has been repeatedly tested, especially among the quarterbacks. As soon as one injured offensive lineman is healthy enough to return to the lineup, another one goes down. Outside of the running backs, there hasn’t been a position group that hasn’t had to struggle with injuries so far.

Which brings us to today and the Tennessee Titans, a team that loves nothing more than to run the ball, which, coincidentally is something the Browns have struggled to stop in recent years.

We know the Titans – currently the NFL’s second-best rushing attack – will run the ball today, and we hope the Browns – with rookie Kevin Hogan just one good shot at Cody Kessler’s ribs away from seeing his first NFL action –  will try to do the same.

The Titans are not the Patriots, but the Dolphins, Redskins and Ravens are not either and the Browns couldn’t stop them. Under defensive coordinator Ray Horton the Browns are well on their way to setting a franchise record for the most points allowed in a 16-game season, and the Titans should help contribute to that effort today.

Roger Cohen (2016 record: 3-2): Titans 20, Browns 3

I can count on one hand the number of Browns game I’ve missed since the mid 1960’s, and can usually recite the schedule by heart.

Maybe it’s because of Tribe fever — or last week’s Brady beatdown — but I had to squint up at my bulletin board pocket schedule to see who the Browns were playing Sunday.

Oh, Tennessee — the guys I witnessed Johnny Football beat last year. Seems like last century.

Who’s quarterbacking? Who’s at center or left guard? What’s up with Joe Haden? No matter — I predict another snoozefest, with fumbles galore. Cody Kessler regresses to the mean, throws a couple of picks and the Titans connect on a couple long bombs, bust a long run and cruise to a 20-3 victory.

It’s a good thing the Indians have Sunday off, or for the first time in memory, the Tribe’s TV ratings would top the Browns’…by a lot.

Joel Cade (2016 record: 4-1): Titans 28, Browns 24

The Browns have a unique opportunity this week to win. However, any victory against the Titans will be hard-fought. The Titans boast one of the best offensive lines and rushing attacks in the league. Lucky for the Browns, they have been successful in stopping the zone run this season. The Titans will occasionally line up in All-11 formations much like the Browns. The defense should be able to handle that well. It is imperative the Browns pressure Mariota as his ability to throw the ball falls off a cliff when pressured.

On offense the game rests with the offensive line’s ability to create holes in the running game and to protect Cody Kessler. Kessler has proven he is worth the third-round pick used on him last spring. He can lead this team to a victory on Sunday if he can stay healthy. The offensive line faces one of the best fronts they have seen all season. However, given that the Titans run the same defense as the Browns, Kessler and the offense should already be familiar how to scheme itself to victory.

All looks good for the Browns except the fact that Joel Bitonio is now gone. With holes at center, right tackle and now left guard, it is too much to ask this makeshift line to handle the Titans front seven.

Steven Kubitza (2016 record: 2-3): Titans 27, Browns 24

Brian Hoyer beat the Titans in 2014, and Johnny Manziel beat them in 2015. It’s Cody Kessler’s turn, but the results will not be the same in 2016.

The injury to Joel Bitonio will be too much to overcome and the Titans’ defensive front will be in the backfield all afternoon. Couple that with a much-improved Titans offense and Marcus Mariota will be leading several long touchdown drives against the young Browns defense.

The Browns will keep it close thanks to a few forced turnovers, but the Titans will be able to hold their lead throughout, leaving the Browns to ponder how the season was lost just six weeks in.

 Matt Stevenson (2016 Record: 4-0): Titans 24, Browns 16

The Cleveland Browns take on the Tennessee Titans in perhaps the most winnable game remaining on their schedule. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton goes up against his previous team, where he left to join the Browns in the same position. The Titans currently rank No. 2 in all of football in terms of rushing, led by DeMarco Murray. Also, the Titans rank No. 10 defensively and look to attack the Browns with these two aspects come Sunday.

The Browns lost Joel Bitonio to IR this week although Cam Erving returns from injury. The line has so many questions, it will be tough for Cody Kessler to get the ball rolling against a fierce Titans defense. The Browns defense has been great defending the run in the middle, however the Patriots ran all over them on the outside in last week’s blowout.

Murray has the matchup to unleash tomorrow, something fantasy owners should be thrilled about, but not Browns fans. It will be a disappointing effort in what should be a winnable game for the Browns, and Marcus Mariota will continue his hot streak.

Eric Szczepinski (2016 record: 3-1): Browns 21, Titans 20

The Browns put an end to the 0-5 start and win a nail bitter on the road in Tennessee. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler continues to grow and impress, leading the offense to three touchdowns on the afternoon.

Next: 5 keys to victory over the Titans

The Browns offense will be paced by bounce back rushing performances by both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. Defensively, the Browns will collectively play better than one week ago and rattle Titans second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota into some bad decisions in which the defense can capitalize.