Jaguars vs Browns Game Preview

Jacksonville is well rested after their bye week and Cleveland lost a tough game in Washington, 14-11. The Browns have been playing better football of late. Here's our first preview of Sunday's matchup.

Cleveland Browns vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, October 26, 2008, 4:15pm
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium

Cleveland 2-4, Jacksonville 3-3

Series history: Jaguars lead, 8-2. Last meeting Jaguars won 20-14 in Cleveland in 2005.

Cleveland offense 30th overall (28th passing, 24th rushing); Scoring- 30th – 15.3 ppg. vs. Jacksonville defense 24th overall (23rd passing, 17th rushing); Scoring- 13th- 21.3 ppg.

The Cleveland offense has been somewhat of a mystery this season, as they return basically the same cast as of a year ago when they were one of the most explosive units in the league. The only real difference has been the lackluster play of quarterback Derek Anderson, who threw 29 TD passes a year ago, but has just six in six games this season. Anderson has completed fewer than 50% of his passes for just 989 yards, 6 TD's/6 INT's, and one of the league's worst quarterback ratings of 62.9.

Cleveland's best threat on the ground is veteran running back Jamal Lewis, who is a solid workhorse with 403 yards rushing, but averages just 3.7 yards per carry. The Browns have a nice change of pace back in Jerome Harrison who has great speed and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Harrison is averaging 7.5 yards per carry.

Derek Anderson's best threat is wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who has had an off-year, as he's caught just 20 passes for 307 yards and 2 TD's. Edwards has dropped several passes this year, which many point to a lack of concentration. Troubled tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr. has caught 21 passes while missing one game with a staph infection. Winslow has game breaking ability at tight end, but Jaguars fans won't see that ability as Winslow is suspended for Sunday's game for post-game comments last week criticizing the team. Another disappointment early on has been free agent acquisition Donte Stallworth, who has been mired with a series of injuries. Stallworth is a legitimate deep threat when healthy, but has caught just four passes this year. Wide receiver Syndric Steptoe and tight end Steve Heiden are both under the radar players for Cleveland.

The Jaguars must be able to manufacture a pass rush against Cleveland being that the receiver-secondary matchups tend to be in the Browns favor.

Best offensive matchup for Cleveland: Joe Thomas vs. Jaguars defensive ends- Thomas is a premiere left tackle and he should be able to handle any of the Jaguars defensive ends that are lined up across the ball from him. The Browns will likely try to run wide behind Thomas and they should have success.

Best defensive matchup for Jacksonville: Rashean Mathis vs. Derek Anderson- Anderson has been somewhat less than accurate this season, and if he makes a mistake on Mathis' side, Mathis can make him pay.

Jacksonville offense 22nd overall (20th passing, 14th rushing); Scoring- 22nd 20.7 ppg. vs. Cleveland defense 18th overall (7th passing, 26th rushing); Scoring- 7th – 17.7 ppg.

The Jaguars offense finally got going in their last game at Denver, but everyone's offense gets going against Denver. Jacksonville will try to emulate their success by running the football against an underachieving Cleveland defensive line who has struggled to stop the run.

The Browns front three looks better on paper than they do on the field, and it's up to Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers to change that. Both are very talented players who have underachieved in 2008.

Cleveland has good athletes in their 3-4 scheme which is led by linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who leads the team in tackles. Andra Davis is very solid on the inside, and Kamerion Wimbley has star potential on the outside, but plays better with his hand on the ground. Veteran Willie McGinest is still playing solid football in his 15th year in the league.

The Browns secondary is led by big play cornerback Eric Wright, who has tons of talent but can be beat deep. On the opposite corner is Brandon McDonald, who is having a solid year, and the nickel is former Jaguar Terry Cousin, who has obvious limitations. Sean Jones and Brodney Pool have played well at safety when healthy for Cleveland.

Best offensive matchup for Jacksonville: Jaguars offensive line vs. Cleveland defensive line. The Jaguars love to run the football and the Browns have had a difficult time stopping the run. Jacksonville will try to make that trend continue.

Best defensive matchup for Cleveland: D'Qwell Jackson vs. David Garrard. Garrard must be careful when throwing the slant as Cleveland's linebackers could drop into coverage and get a cheap, easy touchdown.

Special Teams

Cleveland: PK Phil Dawson, P Dave Zastudil, LS Ryan Pontbriand, KOR/PR Josh Cribbs

Jacksonville: PK Josh Scobee, P Adam Podlesh, LS Joe Zelenka, KOR Brian Witherspoon, PR Brian Witherspoon

Special teams advantage: The Jaguars have a better coverage unit, but Cribbs is as dangerous as anyone in the league. Everything else looks pretty even.

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