Game Plan and Matchups vs. Browns

Check out the game plan and matchups as the Denver Broncos face the Cleveland Browns.

SERIES HISTORY: 23rd regular-season meeting. Broncos lead series 17-5, and have won the last eight meetings against the Browns. Counting three wins in AFC Championship Games in the 1980s, the Broncos are 20-5 overall against Cleveland, their best winning percentage against any opponent.

GAME PLAN: Neither team is going to take many chances in the passing game. The Broncos and Browns will each keep it short, hoping to move the chains and avoid any mistakes. Neither Brady Quinn nor Kyle Orton is a master at throwing deep, so big plays could be at a premium.

Each defense will try to throw off the short passing game of their opponent. A turnover or two probably will determine who wins this game. Both teams also play a similar 3-4 on defense because Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels both come from the Patriots.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos ROLB Elvis Dumervil vs. Browns OLT Joe Thomas. The Broncos moved Dumervil around last week in passing situations, but he played right outside linebacker in base situations. That will leave him matched up against Thomas, who is coming off a fantastic game against Vikings DE Jared Allen. Dumervil is Denver's best natural pass rusher.

Broncos WRs Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall vs. Browns CB Brandon McDonald. Last year in Cleveland, the Broncos picked on the inexperienced McDonald. There's a different coaching staff in Denver this year but McDonald could be a target again. The Broncos didn't get much going to either Royal or Marshall in the opener, but that could change quickly.

INJURY IMPACT: CB Champ Bailey sat out Wednesday's practice with an ankle injury. Bailey played the entire game against the Bengals, and the injury isn't considered serious.

S Brian Dawkins didn't practice Wednesday because of his long-standing hand injury. He should play this week.

DE Le Kevin Smith tried practicing for the first time in about a month, but his knee injury wouldn't allow him to go for more than a few minutes before he dropped out.

LB Spencer Larsen will miss at least a few weeks with a shoulder injury.

G Chris Kuper is still limited in practice by a high ankle sprain. Kuper would need to make some improvement to play this week. He did not play last week.

S Josh Barrett, who has a shoulder injury, was limited in practice Wednesday. He will probably be questionable to play on Sunday.



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