BEREA--One of the key reasons the Kansas City Chiefs are off to a 7-0 start this season is fueled by their defense. They are the third overall ranked defense in the NFL. However, the Chiefs lead the league in some of the biggest categories that determine outcomes of games, namely points allowed, turnover ratio, third down and sacks.
The offensive line knows it has a yeoman's task ahead of them.
"They have a really good defense with a really good pass rush," Joe Thomas said. "They have Pro Bowlers all over the defense.
"You throw in them getting a lead and then sacks happen," he said. "Sacks pile up when they get a lead and everybody knows you're going to pass, they dial up the blitz."
Shawn Lauvao agrees with Thomas.
"They have some tremendous athletes across the front," Lauvao said. "We have our week cut out for us."
In fact, the Chiefs rank no lower than fifth in any defensive category in the NFL. The 67 points they have scored off of 19 turnovers account for 39.6 percent of the team's points. The Chiefs lead the NFL in turnover ratio at plus 12.
In 2013, the Chiefs have allowed just 81 points in seven games or 11.6 per game. They are also first in third down efficiency allowing first downs just 25.3 percent of the time. In addition, they have accounted for the league lead in negative plays (51) and three-and-outs (28). They also allow only 4.78 yards per pass.
To top it off, the Chiefs make it tough to score touchdowns in the red zone as they have allowed touchdowns just 22.2 percent of the time when opponents are inside the 20.
Willis McGahee sees a silver lining with this week's opponent.
"They're playing great ball," McGahee said. "They're ranked in the top five (in most areas), but Cincinnati has a pretty good defense and we moved the ball on them."
The Browns had 336 yards against the Bengals in a 17-6 win on Sept. 29.
The Chiefs have two of the top four pass rushers in the NFL in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Houston lines up as the left outside linebacker and he has 10 sacks, while Hali comes from the right and he has nine sacks. Houston is ranked second, while Hali is fourth. Hali has 71.5 sacks since 2006.
Mitchell Schwartz will line up opposite of Houston and knows he will have his hands full.
"A lot of it is they're good players," Schwartz said. "Good players and good schemes and the coaches put the players in a position to make plays."
The Chiefs try to dictate the opposing offense. On three occasions, the Chiefs have had six or more sacks, including nine against the Raiders on Oct. 13.
"They have a great front with great talent and they play together well," Mack said. "We have a tough game in front of us. They have a good defense that is number one in a lot of areas.
"We're going to try and negate what they do."
To top it off, Jason Campbell will be making his first start for the Browns in arguably one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL agains a top-flight defense. However, Campbell has started 71 games in his nine-year NFL career, but only one in the last two years.
"They're tough," Campbell said. "As an offense, we just have to go in there and do what we do and try to be as patient as possible and keep ourselves in good positions to win."
Thomas is confident in Campbell.
"He's steady and has a lot of experience in this league," Thomas said. "I think it is valuable to have any game experience and it's going to be really valuable to us (Sunday)."
Horton Wishes Finley Well: Defensive coordinator Ray Horton took a moment to open his press conference with the media to address Packers' TE Jermichael Finley, who was injured last week on a hit by DB Tashaun Gipson.
"We're happy that Jermichael Finley is out of the hospital and doing better," he said. "We wish him well."
Horton was asked if it's hard to coach the players on the proper techniques that are within league rules.
"It's easy to coach, but hard to officiate."
Horton said that Gipson's hit was legal.
"It was shoulder-to-shoulder," he said. "It was unfortunate (Finley) was hurt, but it validates we're coaching the right way. It's a physical game and if you do it properly, it can be done in today's NFL."
McGahee Rests: RB Willis McGahee was not a full participant in practice. The Browns said last week that he would be given a day off each week to rest his knee to "keep him fresh". Also, not practicing was LB Quentin Groves (ankle). It was the second-straight day that Groves did not practice. DL Billy Winn (quad) practiced again.
Brotherly Love: OL Mitchell Schwartz' brother, Geoff, is an offensive lineman for the Chiefs and this will be the first time the brothers' NFL teams have faced one another.
"He's on the O-Line, so I'm not going to be facing him," he said. "But, it will be cool to see him."
Mitchell Schwartz was asked if their mother had a jersey made up that is half Browns colors, half Chiefs colors.
"I think Mom has that going."