Stoppable Force, Meet Moveable Object

Something has to give when the leagues worst offense meets one of the worst defenses. Will this be the game where the Browns offense gets on track, or will it be a low point in an already low season?

On Sunday the Browns and Lions meet in a game that pits the team that has scored the fewest number of points -- the Browns (78) -- against the team that has allowed the most -- the Lions (264).

As odd as it sounds, which 1-8 team prevails could come down to how the Browns' defense fares against Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford has thrown 12 interceptions. Daunte Culpepper has thrown two picks and Drew Stanton has thrown a pair.

The 16 interceptions by the Lions' quarterbacks are one more than Derek Anderson (9), Brady Quinn (5) and Josh Cribbs (1) have thrown. The reason the Browns have so many more giveaways (25) than Detroit (16) is the Lions have had luckier bounces when they fumble. The Browns have fumbled 16 times and lost 10. The Lions have fumbled 15 times and lost three.

The Browns, on the other hand, have intercepted only four passes, which is only 1.4 percent of the passes opposing quarterbacks have thrown. That interception percentage is the lowest in the league.

The only starting quarterbacks rated lower than Stafford (59.5 rating) are JaMarcus Russell (47.7) and Anderson (36.2), and Russell and Anderson have been benched.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz is determined to let Stafford learn on the job. Browns coach Eric Mangini warns not to be deceived by Stafford's low rating.

"There are a lot of different reasons why that could be what it is," Mangini said. "Interceptions affect passer rating quite a bit and he's had some of those. There have been a lot of good throws on tape. There have been some tight throws in Cover Two, in between the corner and safety and some nice throws on the fade ball. He does a good job with the outs to the tight ends and slot receivers."

Allowing big plays has been a major problem for the Browns all season. Through nine games they have allowed 39 plays of 20 yards or more. They allowed 11 in the 27-14 loss in Pittsburgh. The staggering statistic is a major reason the Browns rank dead last in defense.

"We're a good team and we need to put some things together," left cornerback Eric Wright said. "Everybody is working hard and has an open mind at this point. We're continuing to work and press forward and try to get better."

Sloppy tackling has been part of the problem, as in the Green Bay game when Brodney Pool whiffed on Donald Driver. That mistake turned a 15-yard gain into a 71-yard touchdown pass.

Eric Wright will be matched against Calvin Johnson most of the time. At other times it will be Johnson vs. Brandon McDonald. Both cornerbacks are 5-10. Johnson is 6-5.

McDonald gave up a short pass to Derrick Mason that turned into a 41-yard gain on Monday to set up the first touchdown in a 16-0 loss to the Ravens. McDonald expects Stafford to pick on him.

"I'm discouraged," McDonald said. "I've been inconsistent. I know what kind of player I can be, but I don't think I've showcased that on a consistent basis. I'm discouraged because I don't like to be thought of as a guy that can't do something."

The Browns have given up 10 touchdown passes this season.


--WR Josh Cribbs practiced on a limited basis Thursday. He did not practice Wednesday because of a neck injury.

--RT John St. Clair practiced on a limited basis. He missed Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

--WR Jake Allen, acquired off waivers from the Packers Wednesday, practiced Thursday. Whether he is active Sunday could depend on how Chansi Stuckey is. Stuckey missed the game against Baltimore with a calf injury. He was limited Thursday with the injury.

--FB Lawrence Vickers missed practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury, but he practiced Thursday on a limited basis.

--NT Shaun Rogers was limited in practice with a sore back.

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