NEW ORLEANS – After allowing Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Matt Ryan to pass for a franchise-record 448 yards in a 37-34 overtime loss on the road, are the New Orleans Saints marching towards an 0-2 start against the Cleveland Browns?
New Orleans (0-1), goes into Cleveland giving up an NFL-worst 445.0 yards allowed passing and 19th in yards rushing (122.0) Despite having the sixth-ranked offense and ninth in rushing (139.3), the Saints should find themselves on alert, as the Browns who are fresh from a 30-27 road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0), look to get on track in front of their loud and boisterous Dawg Pound in their home opener.
Down 27-3 at halftime, Cleveland scored 24 unanswered points to tie the game at 27-27, before losing on a late Shaun Suisham field goal.
Despite the loss, Cleveland showed admirable grit and resolve in coming back from 24 points to almost pull off the franchise’s biggest comeback in history.
Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer silenced both naysayers and Johnny Manziel fans alike in passing for 170 yards and one touchdown in the second half. Rookie running back Terrance West rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries and Isaiah Crowell rushed for 32 yards on five carries and two touchdowns.
With starting running back Ben Tate out due to a knee strain injury, look for a heavy dose of West and Crowell. Cleveland would also lose Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron to a shoulder injury, it is unknown whether or not he will suit up for Cleveland.
If he does, than Cleveland will have it’s most dangerous weapon on offense on the field.
Like New Orleans, Cleveland has issues on defense, as they have the second worst passing defense I the NFL (376.0) and eighth-worst rushing defense in allowing 127.0 yards a game.
While not as dangerous and physical as the Steelers LeVeon Bell, Mark Ingram should have room to run on the browns otherwise suspect run defense. While both teams have exceptional tight ends in the fore mentioned Cameron and Jimmy Graham, New Orleans has the clear advantage in the passing game with Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks and at quarterback in Drew Brees.
The most interesting matchup for the Saints is whether they will attack Cleveland’s Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, or go after rookie Justin Gilbert. Don’t be surprised to see Brees go to Cooks early and often and target Graham in the middle of the field and in red-zone situations.
While both teams are winless, the Saints can ill afford to drop to 0-2 in the NFL’s most competitive division, and despite a feisty effort, Cleveland may once again come up just short.
Prediction: New Orleans 31 Cleveland 28
For current news, sports, entertainment, politics and more please follow us at @TheInscriberMag and like us on Facebook: The Inscriber : Digital Magazine