Browns-Colts matchup of the day: Sunday

Posted Sept. 18, 2011 @ 12:14 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Browns-Colts game:

Browns' passing offense vs. Colts' pass defense

After struggling to stop Texans WR Andre Johnson, whom they have the misfortune of facing twice a year, the Colts will face a Browns WR corps with no one nearly as accomplished as the spectacular Johnson in Week Two.

Indianapolis has to believe this is a matchup it can win. Mohamed Massaquoi has good speed and hauled in a 56-yard catch last week, but he's been inconsistent in his young career. The Browns' other starting wideout, Brian Robiskie, didn't have a catch a week ago. Slot receiver Jordan Norwood had but one catch for six yards and was targeted just that one time. Reserve Greg Little has shown promise, but he hasn't cracked the starting lineup just yet.

The Browns' tight ends could prove a tougher matchup for Indianapolis than their wideouts. Benjamin Watson and Evan Moore both have good speed. They were targeted on 13-of-40 pass attempts last week. Moore is often deployed like a wideout and can use his size to create mismatches.

Browns QB Colt McCoy was inconsistent in Week One, completing just 19-of-40 passes for 213 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. McCoy's strengths include his accuracy, poise and intelligence. He can elude pressure and create on the run. His arm strength is only average, but that is not usually a big hindrance, especially in this scheme.

Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey are the Colts' starting cornerbacks, with Justin Tryon playing in nickel situations. Powers is the standout of the group, though he had his problems against Johnson. FS Antoine Bethea is solid, and SS Melvin Bullitt had an interception in Week One.

The Colts primarily play zone coverage. The Browns' receivers need to find a way to get open and help McCoy, who sometimes was left to hold on to the ball a little too long vs. Cincinnati. Such a strategy is dangerous against the Colts, who have two elite edge rushers in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.