By Brandon Wolf
Cleveland Browns and NFL Analyst
It is a football Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio, and after the Browns victory last Thursday, it feels like they have not played in months. With Baker getting his swagger back and the Browns run game setting the pace, this offense looked solid in week two. Now the Browns will play a tougher defensive unit in Washington and hope that their offense can come out with the same moxy and poise that they had last Thursday.
This Washington front four is nothing to laugh at, but Washington’s secondary is one of the worst in the NFL this year. If the Browns can run the ball early and force the Washington Football Team to stack the box, it will open up plenty of passing lanes for Baker Mayfield and this Cleveland passing game.
The Browns defense is going to be a key part of this week's matchup. Denzel Ward has had a phenomenal first two weeks, but just like his first two seasons, he has been plagued by injuries. The jury is still out on if Ward will play today, which will have major implications on how Washington’s offense will look. Terry McLaurin is responsible for over 60% of this Washington offense. That is the highest usage percentage of any offensive piece among all NFL teams through two weeks. If Ward is lined up across from McLaurin it is going to be a long day for this Washington offense.
Another thing to keep your eye on this week is the Browns special teams. In the first two weeks, the Browns special teams have allowed the most yards on kick returns in the NFL. If Cody Parkey can get the ball farther on kickoffs that will definitely help these special teams, but if he continues the short kickoffs it will allow great field position for every team the Browns play this season.
The last thing to watch out for is the Browns' coaching situation. Kevin Stefanski seems to be settling in on the sidelines. Every Browns fan was looking forward to Stefanski's heavy usage of play-action and a creative rushing game, and they finally got it last week against the Bengals. The Browns biggest offensive play came off of a beautiful play-action pass from Mayfield to Beckham. If Stefanski and this offense can settle in again this week the Browns could start off 2-1 for the first time since 2014.
My final score prediction for today: Browns 28 - Washington 14
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