Matchup No. 2: Joel Bitonio vs DeForest Buckner
All-Pro left guard Joel Bitonio underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee during the bye week, and as a consequence sat out the following game against the San Fransico 49ers. Bitonio was riding a 102 regular-season game starting streak prior to the miss. Now Bitonio will step back into the starting lineup, and the prize that awaits him is none other than fellow former All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
Buckner, listed at 6-foot-7 and 295 pounds, is a full day at the office for any guard in the league. There might not be a better defensive tackle at combining their length and the power in the way that Buckner does. Buckner utilizes his violent hands and long levers to create separation at the point of attack and then dispatches would be blockers to swallow ball carriers.
When you add in the fact that Bitonio is returning from knee surgery, be it minor or not, the 10-year stalwart will certainly have a battle on his hands. The Browns desperately need to keep the momentum they generated in their run game last week.
With the Colts losing their other starting defensive tackle, Grover Stewart, to suspension this week, Cleveland will look to take advantage between the tackles. If Bitonio is not on his A-game, Buckner could ruin that plan singlehandedly.