Week 3 can't get here quick enough for the Cleveland Browns who dropped an ugly one to the Steelers on Monday Night Football.
Now they look to turn the page against the Tennessee Titans and if they're going to secure a win, they need to focus on these three keys.
3. Shutdown The Run
It’s no secret that the Tennessee Titans have one of the most explosive power backs in the National Football League. Derrick Henry has been a menace for opposing defenses since entering the league in 2016, except for the Cleveland Browns.
In four career meetings against Cleveland’s defense, Henry has accumulated just 164 rushing yards (3.1 YPC) on 49 carries and two touchdowns.
Through two games this season, Henry has 143 rushing yards (3.6 YPC) on 40 carries, nine first downs, and one touchdown.
The Browns will need to continue their shutdown of Henry and force the Titans to rely on Tannehill to move the ball downfield.
2. Lockdown Hopkins
Offseason acquisition DeAndre Hopkins leads the Titans in receiving with 11 catches for 105 yards (52.5 YPG) and no touchdowns. Through two games, Hopkins has secured six first downs for the Titans, three in each of the first two games.
Hopkins played in 60 percent of Tennessee’s offensive snaps in week two but is looking to increase his workload with a healthy ankle in Week three.
While Treylon Burks had more receiving yards against the Chargers last week, Hopkins was the most-targeted Titans receiver with five passes.
If Cleveland’s secondary can lockdown a healthy Hopkins and limit his first downs, Tannehill will be forced to use his less experienced receivers.
1. Offensive Trust
Deshaun Watson is heading into his ninth game as the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback, and so far, he hasn’t been able to bounce back to his former glory.
Since taking over as starting quarterback last December, Watson’s numbers have yet to improve despite his extended time with the team.
- 8 Games (4-4)
- 137/239 (57.3%)
- 1,491 Passing Yards
- 9 Touchdowns
- 7 Interceptions
- 76.2 OBR
- 29 Sacks
- 47 Rushing Attempts
- 242 Rushing Yards
- 2 Rushing Touchdowns
- 15 Rushing First Downs
Watson clearly has trust issues with his offensive line, especially from the left side, which is not helping him stay in the pocket and produce accurate passes to his receivers.
The Browns are also without Nick Chubb for the remainder of the season, further increasing the pressure on Watson to complete his passes.
The addition of Kareem Hunt to the roster this week will surely help Watson in the event of a collapsing pocket as a quick target for the quarterback to look for.
If the offensive line can make Watson feel comfortable in the pocket, and Watson can deliver accurate and precise passes, then the offense will flourish against the Titans defense.