GAME PLAN: The Broncos are thin at tailback because of injuries, so they could have a pass-heavy offensive attack out of necessity. Denver will try to get a running game going against Cleveland, which ranks near the bottom of the NFL in rush defense, but they also don't want to give rookie Ryan Torain a full workload if he's the top option at tailback.
Last week against Miami, the Broncos' defensive plan was to take away the run and the Dolphins' top receiver, Ted Ginn, and they did a good job in both accounts. Miami's second receiver, Greg Camarillo, had a big day because the defense was rolled to the other side. If the Broncos use a similar approach, Braylon Edwards might not have a big day, but other receivers could.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Cleveland OLT Joe Thomas vs. Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil faces one of the best in the NFL in Thomas. Dumervil has been playing well lately -- he had a sack against Miami but the Broncos decided to take a holding penalty instead -- and if he can get a rush against Thomas, it would be huge for the defense.
Broncos interior line vs. Browns DT Shaun Rogers. Last year, when Rogers was with Detroit, he wreaked havoc on Denver, having a huge game in a blowout Lions win. The Broncos need to keep Rogers from penetrating against their zone-blocking scheme if they hope to have an effective running game.
INJURY IMPACT: TE Tony Scheffler was limited in practice Tuesday. He has a chance to play Thursday, but he isn't 100 percent healed from a groin injury.
RB Selvin Young, who has a groin injury, was limited Tuesday. The Broncos are desperate at tailback because of injuries, so even if he isn't 100 percent, the team probably would like to activate him for Thursday's game.
LB D.J. Williams has a third-degree sprain of the MCL in his left knee. He will miss four weeks.
S Marlon McCree's high ankle sprain will keep him out three-to-four weeks. Calvin Lowry likely will start in his place.
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