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Rams-Browns matchup of the day: Saturday

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Posted Nov. 12, 2011 @ 2:04 a.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

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

Can either offense solve its first-quarter woes?

The Browns have scored six first-quarter points in eight games. The Rams have been slightly better in first quarters, but not especially so, racking up just 16 points — and just three since Week Two.

As both teams have struggled to score in the first quarter, they each have had issues keeping their opponents off the scoreboard early in games. The Rams have allowed 62 first-quarter points, with Cleveland surrendering 58.

Overall, the clubs have combined to be outscored 120-22 in first quarters this season.

One positive sign for both clubs: each got on the board in the first 15 minutes in Week Nine. The Browns got a Phil Dawson field goal after a long kickoff return from Joshua Cribbs at Houston, while the Rams' 10-play, 55-yard first-quarter drive at Arizona ended in a Josh Brown field goal.

For the Rams, stopping Cribbs — especially in the return game, and also on offense, should he have an expanded role — should be a major priority. Limiting his return opportunities would be a very good idea. He is Cleveland's top playmaker.

For the Browns, stopping RB Steven Jackson will be key. Cleveland has allowed at least 109 rushing yards in 7-of-8 games.

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