KCCD Staff Writer: Elliot Dennis
Week 14 the Chiefs travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns for the first time since 9/19/2010. The Chiefs won that matchup 16-14. The all-time series is currently tied at 10-10-2.
Chiefs: DOUBTFUL: Safety Abram Elam (quad) QUESTIONABLE: Tackle Branden Albert (back), Guard Jeff Allen (illness), Safety Eric Berry (hand/illness), Cornerback Brandon Flowers (hamstring), Guard Russ Hochstein (back), Linebacker Derrick Johnson (hamstring), Safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) PROBABLE: Linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), Guard Ryan Lilja (knee)
Browns: PROBABLE: Wide Receiver Travis Benjamin (finger), Tight End Jordan Cameron (groin), Wide Receiver Joshua Cribbs (shoulder/chest), Linebacker James-Michael Johnson (finger), Guard Ryan Miller (forearm), Cornerback Dimitri Patterson (ankle), Running Back Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger), Defensive End Frostee Rucker (shoulder/finger), Safety Ray Ventrone (calf), Safety Usama Young (head)
Chiefs’ Offense: Can they keep the momentum going?
The Chiefs offense played great last week in the wake of the Jovan Belcher tragedy. Brady Quinn, Jamaal Charles, and company played great football for the first time this season. Quinn had the best game of any Chiefs quarterback this season. He was 19 of 23 for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns. His 97.6 QBR was the highest of any Chief quarterback over the last five seasons. For the Chiefs to get a win in Cleveland, Quinn needs a repeat performance against one of the NFL’s top passing defenses.
Jamaal Charles needs to keep it going as well. He rushed 27 times for 127 yards last week. He’s going up against the NFL’s 16th ranked run D (4.1 ypc), so he should be able to get some yards.
Jonathan Baldwin got his first redzone reception and touchdown last week. Quinn needs to target him, along with Tony Moeaki (who has played great as of late), this week as Dwayne Bowe will be blanketed by shutdown corner Joe Haden.
The offensive line did a great job last week in only allowing one sack and kept Quinn on his feet most of the day. Rookie LT Donald Stephenson did a great job filling in for Branden Albert and in stopping Carolina’s Charles Johnson all afternoon. The Browns rank 12th in the NFL in sacks (29), so the offensive line will have work to do in protecting Quinn.
Overall, I think the offense will go back to what we saw before last week’s game. They will get some yards and field goals, but I don’t expect much from this unit this week. Cleveland’s defense is getting better by the week.
Chiefs’ Defense: Will injuries affect them?
An emotional KC defense was okay last week in limiting Carolina and keeping the offense in the game. However, the unit is really banged up as a whole. Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, and Abram Elam all might not play. If so, that does not bode well for the Chiefs. Tysyn Hartman was the only good replacement for the Chiefs last week in subbing for the injured safety tandem, as he led the team with 6 tackles and didn’t get burned in coverage.
Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are going to have to play big if the Chiefs want a win.
The Browns have one of the best pass-blocking offensive lines in the league. Joe Thomas is the NFL’s best at left tackle. Justin Houston had another solid outing last week; he had a sack and was all over the field. Tamba Hali, on the other hand, has been quiet of late. He will need to step it up this week.
The Browns will be throwing deep often, so the corners and safeties are going to have to communicate and play well despite injuries. Rookie Josh Gordon has been sensational this season, catching 34 passes for 646 yards (19 yards avg), and 5 touchdowns. The Browns like to target him deep often.
Another area of focus is stopping Trent Richardson. Tyson Jackson and Dontari Poe have come along very well this season and they will need to keep that progress up this week. Richardson hasn’t been great this year (3.6 ypc), but he’s really good at wearing out a defense. He should have a somewhat easy game against the Chiefs 26th ranked run defense (4.6 ypc).
The goal of the game will be to force Brandon Weeden into mistakes. He is very erratic and will make some big mistakes in big situations. That is why Houston and Hali need to have big performances in this one. However, I don’t think the D plays great due to all the injuries and the Browns have been playing much better as of late.
Prediction: Chiefs: 13 – Browns: 23
The team really played great last week in light of the Belcher tragedy, but they have had a week to really take in everything that happened. They went to his funeral — they see his locker every day. The adrenaline will not be flowing like it was last week. I think we will see the Chiefs team that we have seen in every other game this year. The 1st overall pick is still in sight.