When the Raiders line up versus the Cleveland Browns’ defense, many believe they will enjoy success. Ranked in the bottom third of the league in many categories, the Raiders could feast on this group. Yet, as we know, the Raiders rarely do as expected. As a result, we have no idea what to envision during this game.
Numbers Never Lie
yes, the Browns struggle with stopping anyone. Despite a 5-2 record, they cannot consistently force three and outs. In fact, they rank 29th in points allowed and 21st in yards. Under those circumstances, this game should not be a defensive struggle. If you partake in the parlay, please, for the sake of your wallet, bet the over. In three of their games, the Browns surrendered at least 375 yards on three different occasions.
Despite a porous defense that should make the Raiders salivate, the Browns actually create turnovers. In seven games, the defense forced fourteen turnovers. Now, you can take that as a product of not stopping anyone, more opportunity to throw. However, those fourteen takeaways did manage to end drives. So, pick your poison: Know you will score, but also expect to cough up the ball at the worst possible moment. Their secondary boasts six interceptions. Malcolm Smith, yes that one, even claims a pick. Four of the forced fumbles are by one person.
The Garrett Headache
Granted, positioning the name Garrett and word headache next to each other seems rather appropriate. A year ago, Myles Garrett decided to smash Mason Rudolph over the head with his own helmet. Yet, between the whistles, he could be the most consistent AFC defensive end over the past three seasons. Nine sacks in his first seven games belie Garrett’s impact. Garrett plays downhill, full bore on every snap. If the Raiders want to silence, him, don’t just chip. Instead, double him and wear him down with the run game. Garrett runs lighter than his 275 pounds but better leverage than his 6’5” frame would indicate. He wins with hand speed: the ability to chop while moving. Not only does Garrett possess the physical traits, but the full polished fluidity of his movement keeps offensive linemen off guard.
While the Browns look rather susceptible to pass, Vegas could struggle against the run. The Browns employ two tackles in Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson, that attack the run. Unlike many interior linemen, they don’t just clog lanes and offer up nothing versus the pass. Ogunjobi and Richardson combine obvious power with a quick step and heavy hands that beat slower guards. Two-thirds of the Raiders’ interior remains at or near Peo Bowl quality. However, with Garrett lurking on the outside, you could see a few one on one.
Later this week, we will get to the Browns secondary in-depth. However, Derek Carr should feast on this defense, provided they keep Garrett far away. The Raiders need to revisit that aggression that leads them to victory in Kansas City. They have weapons, use them.