Sunday, December 08, 2013

Cover32: Browns vs Patriots preview: how many spikes for Gronk?


The New England Patriots kick-off their NFL week fourteen game on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns in Foxboro, MA at 1:00PM eastern time. Continuing their tour through the AFC North, the AFC East leading nine win Patriots face-off against the four win Cleveland Browns. The Patriots are looking for their third straight win while Cleveland is on a three game slide. While New England can wrap up the AFC East with a win and a Dolphins loss, the Browns sit two games behind the division rival Ravens for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. The Patriots are looking for another win to stay in contention for a top spot and bye week in the playoffs. The Browns are looking get back in contention and to make a run for the playoffs.
The big story leading up to the week was the quarterback situation in Cleveland. Starter Jason Campbell and thrice-demoted backup Brandon Weeden have been suffering with post-concussive symptoms and the team was limited to the choice between newly signed Alex Tanney and Caleb Hanie. Fortunately for the Browns, Jason Campbell–their best choice of the four–has been cleared to play and will be behind center on Sunday.
In addition to quarterback issues, the Browns announced this week that defensive end Desmond Bryant was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list with an irregular heartbeat. Bryant, who signed a five-year, $34 million contract this offseason, had been the Browns’ second best pass rusher. In twelve regular season games, Bryant has been credited with 19 hurries and 11 quarterback hits to go along with 45 tackles and 3.5 sacks (statistics from and
However, the Browns are not a team built to pressure on the opposing quarterback: Bryant, disappointing free agent signing Paul Kruger and 2013 first-round draft pick Barkevious Mingo are a few of the pieces added to linebacker Jabaal Sheard to kick-start the pass rush. The team is very strong against the run, but they will struggle on Sunday to keep the Patriots off the scoreboard. In fact, per, the Browns have allowed more touchdown passes (19) since week six than any other team.
The Cleveland Browns, despite their issues at quarterback, have one of the best wide receivers in the game this season in Josh Gordon. Gordon is the first player in NFL history to put up back-to-back 200 yard receiving games, made all the more impressive by having Brandon Weeden getting him the ball and the lack of playmakers on the offense...Click here for more:


ne patriotsBrowns New England Patriots face-off against the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium in a match-up of two explosive offenses.  However, for the Patriots’ offense there have been first half struggles in their last two games against the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans.  With the dangerous Josh Gordon on the other sideline for the Browns, the Patriots need to shake-off their first half hiccups and put their defense in position to play with a lead early against the Browns.

The Patriots offense will need to move the ball consistently and convert scoring opportunities in the red zone against the Cleveland Browns defense.

The Browns defense has been one of the strongest against the run this season ranking fifth in the NFL with only 98.9 yard allowed per game. Against the pass, the team relies on one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL in Joe Haden. The Browns defense ranks fifth in the NFL against the pass allowing only 207.8 yards allowed per game.
For the Patriots offense there are injury issues at wide receiver: rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins are both likely to miss the game against the Browns (or be limited if they play). Both are battling through injuries and the Patriots may be wise to rest both of them this week in order to get both of their young outside receivers healthy before the playoffs start in January...Read more here: New England Patriots Pull Out Amazing Comeback Win Over Cleveland

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After talking all week about the need to start the game quickly, the New England Patriots came out at home against the 4-8 Cleveland Brownsand were outclassed on both sides of the ball early in the game.  The Patriots were fortunate to only be down 6-0 at the half as quarterback Tom Brady was only 7 of 19 passing in the first half without completing a pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski. Plagued by drops, bad passes, and an inconsistent running game, the Patriots offense looked eerily similar to their early season struggles; however, this unit had most of their top weapons on the field and was still stymied by the Browns swarming and aggressive defense.

The Browns offense was determined to play keep away, trying to extend drives and run the ball and control the clock. The Patriots game plan all went to the wind in the second half when tight end Rob Gronkowski was injured at the end of a 21 yard reception when Cleveland safety T.J. Ward hit him on the right knee and Gronkowski went down hard and was unable to leave the field under his own power as he was carted off to the locker room in obvious pain.  The extent of his injury is unknown, but it does not look good for the dominant tight end as his season is likely in jeopardy.

Without Gronkowski, the Patriots immediately lost all spark on both sides of the ball.  Credit Cleveland offensive coordinator Norv Turner, quarterback Jason Campbell, tight end Jordan Cameron, and especially wide receiver Josh Gordon who all planned and executed a smart and aggressive offensive game plan to near perfection and led 26 to 14 late in the fourth quarter and seemed poised to pull off the huge upset.

However, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense drove down the field quickly getting the ball with 2:39 to play and down by 12 points. Brady worked exclusively to Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen hurrying down the field to get a touchdown strike to Julian Edelman in the back of the end zone. A  vicious unnecessary roughness penalty on former Eagles cornerback Jordan Poyer hitting Julian Edelman hard in the head on the reception gave the Patriots a crucial 15 yards closer to the end zone.

Kicking off from the fifty yard line after the penalty, the Patriots were down 26-21 and attempted and recovered an onside kick to give them the ball at the forty. A quick check of replay  showed no illegal touching and a legal recovery by Kyle Arrington.  Tom Brady got to work right away with a quick pass to Danny Amendola to get New England to the thirty yard line.  Tom Brady went for it all and  lobbed the ball into the end zone to rookie wide receiver Josh Boyce. There was a very questionable pass interference call in the end zone on Cleveland quarterback Joe Haden that the Patriots were more than happy to accept.  With a huge break again going their way and set up with first and goal at the one yard line with thirty-five seconds to play the Patriots were improbably in position to take the lead.

Quarterback Tom Brady found wide receiver Danny Amendola in the end zone to take the lead 27-26. The Patriots were unable to convert the two-point conversion as Shane Vereen was stopped short on a running play, but the fact that the Patriots were down 19-3, lost tight end Rob Gronkowski, and then were in position to take the lead with 31 seconds left in the game was remarkable.  Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 323 yards in the second half and the Patriots defense was left to try to keep Cleveland from getting into field goal here for much more: New England Patriots Need to Contain Cleveland’s Josh Gordon

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The New England Patriots face the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Foxboro, MA. The Browns are coming into the game fortunate to have starting quarterback Jason Campbell cleared to play after missing time and being replaced by turnover prone  Brandon Weeden (who is also  suffering from concussion symptoms and not able to go on Sunday).

The Patriots won last week on the road in Houston against the Texans, but it was a difficult game for the visitors as the Patriots eventually won the game in the fourth quarter. The Patriots had to comeback from another halftime deficit before tying and then winning the game on a pair of 53 yard field goals from kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

The Patriots defense has a difficult assignment on Sunday trying to contain  Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon has been fantastic since returning from a two game suspension at the beginning of the season. No matter who is the quarterback so far this year in Cleveland,  Gordon has excelled. In fact, over the past two weeks he was record-setting: Gordon hauled in 24 receptions on 31 targets for 498 yards and 3 touchdowns against Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.

For the Cleveland Browns their entire offensive gameplan the past two weeks has seemingly been to throw the ball to Josh Gordon. With 24 completions and almost 500 yards over the past two games, Gordon has been simply amazing.  With the New England secondary banged up, there is much speculation by the national media that Gordon could make it three straight games going over 200 yards receiving.

New England has developed a reputation under head coach Bill Belichick for being able to take away an opposing offenses’ best option and force them to try and win with their secondary weapons....For much more, click here: New England Patriots’ Top 2019 NFL Draft Picks Show Evolution on Both Sides of the Ball

The New England Patriots may have tipped their hand with their first two 2019 NFL Draft picks. Choosing a bigger, more aggressive outside-...