The Cleveland Browns picked up a much-needed victory last Thursday and enter Week 3 as favorites against the Washington Football Team.
Favorites two weeks in a row?
Vegas clearly has faith in the Browns.
Washington is off to a 1-1 start as well and just lost 30-15 to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Dwayne Haskins‘ team looks very beatable, as long as the Browns avoid the countless mistakes made in the embarrassing Week 1 loss in Baltimore.
Several keys to the game stand out if the Browns are going to do the impossible, for them, and get to 2-1 on the season.
1. Keep the Pressure on Haskins
The former Ohio State quarterback took four sacks Sunday against the Cardinals defense.
He took three in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Washington was able to squeak out a comeback victory over the Eagles in Week 1, but Haskins has not exactly lit the world on fire.
He is also playing behind an offensive line that has not been great so far.
The Washington OL has allowed a pressure on 35.1% of dropbacks, the 3rd most in the NFL pic.twitter.com/o7xDa95nSQ
— PFF Washington (@PFF_Washington) September 21, 2020
Haskins is a combined 36/64 for 401 yards through two games.
Now he has to face a defensive line that sacked Joe Burrow three times and recorded eight hits on the rookie.
The Browns were doing great getting after Burrow until they let up near the end of the game.
Winning 35-30 was the headline.
However, Atlanta Falcons fans just saw what could go wrong if the defense lets up late in a game.
2. Keep Pounding the Run
Kevin Stefanski answered the prayers of Browns fans in Week 2 by allowing Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to run the ball a combined 32 times.
The Washington defense just gave up 160 rushing yards to Arizona and Kyler Murray had 67 of those.
The duo of Chubb and Hunt is easily the best in the league and there is no reason why they shouldn’t easily go over that 32-carry mark Sunday.
Browns get their first win with a big night from Nick Chubb:
2 TDs pic.twitter.com/E2JJhg2wvf
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 18, 2020
In fact, Hunt should get much more than the 10 carries he got against the Bengals.
Running backs are going down left and right early in the season and keeping a more even workload should help preserve both running backs throughout the year.
3. Don’t Force Throws
A common theme for the Browns since Odell Beckham Jr. arrived has been Baker Mayfield forcing throws to his star receiver.
The quarterback did a much better job spreading the ball around Thursday.
.@bakermayfield finds @obj FOR SIX! 😱
📺: https://t.co/xCYUKnVxnh pic.twitter.com/PXLKQI8WDB
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 18, 2020
Beckham led the way with six targets, while five other players had at least two targets.
This came after a Week 1 that saw Beckham lead the way with 10 targets, but finish with only three receptions.
There is too much talent on the offense to force it to Beckham.
Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant, Kareem Hunt, and even KhaDarel Hodge are more than capable of making big plays.
Forcing it to Beckham so much hurts the offense and also makes both Mayfield and OBJ look bad.
The flow on offense was much better against the Bengals and that was to be expected against the lesser competition.
Washington doesn’t appear to be much better and the same plan, along with these keys, can be followed to get the Browns to 2-1 on the season.
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