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3 Ways The Patriots Can Beat The Browns

The Patriots are currently in game 3 of their crucial 6 game stretch here. They’ve taken care of the Chargers and Panthers in impressive fashion, but now they have their sights set on arguably their toughest game yet. If there was ever a time for the team to officially get back on track at home, this weekend is that time. And with Kareem Hunt officially out, Nick Chubb on the fence and Baker still nursing a couple injuries, everything is coming up New England. Here’s 3 ways the Patriots can beat the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.

Stop The Run/Make Baker Beat You

It seems self explanatory, but sometimes the right answer is the easiest one. If you can stop the Browns rush game, you will win. It’s a bold statement, but it’s one I stand by. When the Patriots make a team one dimensional, they come out on top more often than not. And this weekend will be no different. The Browns are averaging a league best 160.2 yards per game on the ground, but I don’t see them doing that again this week. With Nick Chubb contracting COVID, he’ll either be out for this weekend or be coming in with little to no practice time. That’s bad.

The Browns are a bottom of the league team in yards per game, so forcing their weakness to go against your strength (pass defense) is the easiest path to victory for New England. Baker Mayfield hasn’t been great this year (I’ve put where Mac ranks as well just for perspective):

  • 14th in completion percentage (Mac is 8th)
  • 23rd in total yards (Mac is 15th)
  • 19th in yards per game (Mac is 22nd)
  • T-12th in TD’s (Mac is T-11th)
  • 24th QBR (Mac is 20th)
  • 6th in Bad Throw Percentage (Mac is 18th)

The Browns OL has also allowed Mayfield to be sacked 5th most in the league. The Patriots front 7 should be able to get to Baker this weekend. And with a bad foot and still nursing that shoulder injury, that added pressure will only make things worse for the Browns.

Quick Passing Will Be Key

The Browns are very good at getting to the quarterback. I mean, with Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney on the same team, that’s to be expected. And while Belichick has always been good at mitigating great pass rushers, he’ll have his work cut out for him Sunday. That’s why having success with quick passes will be crucial. And the majority of those plays should be ran towards the left side, where Garrett normally looms. Because what’s the saying, the best way to nullify a great pass rusher is to run/pass right at them. I full well expect the “Mac can’t throw the ball more than 20 yards down the field” people to rear their ugly heads again for this game, but oh well. Mac Jones likely won’t have a ton of time to sit back and survey the field and run through his progressions, so get ready for slants, screens and outlet passes.

But this won’t be an easy task. Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome have been really good for Cleveland this season so you’ll have to create some matchup issues. Jonnu Smith should be big in the pass game this week in order to get the size matchup in the Pats favor. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the running backs played a huge role in the passing game either. And if you can get the defense thinking pass even a little bit, that’s where you can take advantage with some draws and really own the time of possession.

Win The Turnover Battle

Cleveland is 1-3 in games they turn the ball over, and that one win came against the putrid Texans. If you can get to Baker and force him to make some mistakes, this secondary is more than capable to capitalize. On the flipside, when the Patriots don’t turn the ball over, they’re undefeated this season.

Conclusion:

The Patriots should win this game. Nick Chubb will likely being out is huge. Baker being a bit hobbled is also a big deal. Bill Belichick will dial up some timely pressures and confuse Baker all night. Lastly, New England will be home for this game where, as many of the players have said, they need to start picking up the slack. The Pats are 1-4 at home this year and they are coming off a win in their last home game. Look for that new trend to continue Sunday.

(Featured Photo Credit www.africa.espn.com)

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Mike Sullivan (@msully5433 on Twitter)

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