Browns-Saints matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Oct. 20, 2010 @ 7:23 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Here's a closer look at a matchup to watch in Sunday's Browns-Saints game:

Saints' running game vs. Browns' run defense

After averaging just 75.6 yards on the ground in the first five games, the Saints exploded for 212 rushing yards in their 31-6 win at Tampa Bay in Week Six. Rookie RB Chris Ivory, an undrafted free agent, racked up 158 yards on 15 carries. The Saints' offensive line gave Ivory the creases he needed, and Ivory helped himself, too, showing an ability to break tackles. The 6-foot, 222-pound undrafted free agent doesn't have elite speed, but he runs hard and can pick up extra yards if the opponent's tackle attempts aren't up to par.

If Pierre Thomas (ankle) misses another game — he has not played in New Orleans' last three contests and missed practice Wednesday — Ivory likely will be the Saints' featured back, with veterans Julius Jones (9-32-0 in Week Six) and Ladell Betts (6-20-1) in reserve.

The Browns have allowed 109 yards or more on the ground in all five or their losses this season but are surrendering a respectable 4.0 yards per carry, which places them in the upper half in the league in that category. Cleveland has generally done a nice job clogging the middle on run plays this season, with NT Ahtyba Rubin having a fine season.

One other aspect to watch is whether the Browns can force Ivory, who has three fumbles (two lost) this season, to cough up the ball. The Browns have recovered four fumbles this season.