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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
The Browns have played well in first halves all season, a big factor in their improved competitiveness. With two weeks to prepare for New England, another fine start by Cleveland would not be a surprise.
However, even if the Browns start quickly, I can't see them holding off the Patriots, who have the superior offense. The Pats' pass defense is not a strength, but I just don't see the Browns showing they can exploit that weakness. New England plays the run well, too, a negative for the Browns, who could prefer a grind-it-out attack with rookie QB Colt McCoy making only his third career start. The Patriots' passing game isn't as potent as it once was, but it is still quite capable of stretching the field, especially if the Browns blitz and the Pats pick it up, giving QB Tom Brady some chances to find receivers working one-on-one vs. Cleveland defensive backs.
Two weeks ago, the Browns scored a remarkable upset of New Orleans, but of their 30 points, two of their touchdowns were off interception returns, and two field goals were set up by well-executed trick plays on special teams. They have struggled to score at other times this season; will they be able to keep up with New England, which leads the NFL in scoring?
Cleveland can compete with New England, but I believe the Patriots will just have a little too much.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Browns 13