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Preview: Green Bay Packers at Browns

Two weeks ago, the Browns had 193 yards of offense, went 4 for 16 on 3rd down, and QB Derek Anderson was 2 of 17 for 23 yards and 1 INT. Still, it was their first (and only) win of the season, 6 to 3 over the Bills. That's the high point of their season.

Since then they've lost another game in Pittsburgh, lost one of their best defensive players for the season, and been battling swine flu. Meanwhile, the Packers are coming off a dominant win against the Lions

This looks like it should be a lopsided game in favor of the Packers. Rankings from (based on yards/game):

Team Run Offense Pass Offense Run Defense Pass Defense
Packers 19 10 16 10
Team Run Defense Pass Defense Run Offense Pass Offense
Browns 30 23 18 31

One item not listed above is the Browns special teams, which is ranked No. 1 according to Football Outsiders. But their key PR/KR Joshua Cribbs is playing with an unspecified knee injury.

RB Ryan Grant is probably having a better season then you think. He's currently ranked as the No. 15 RB by Football Outsiders, which is a dramatic improvement from his poor 2007 season. The Packers are ranked No. 10 overall running the ball by FO, which is higher than the NFL stats because the NFL's stats take into consideration that they aren't running the ball that much. No matter how you look at it, the Browns aren't stopping anybody from running against them. They're allowing 4.9 yards/carry and 165 yards/game. While Grant won't be carrying the offense, he'll certainly be contributing.

The Browns pass defense isn't awful, opposing QBs have a 87.0 QB rating with 7 TDs and 3 INTs. QB Aaron Rodgers hasn't had a problem throwing the ball against any opposing defense this season, so he should be productive. Also, the Browns only have 12 sacks in their first 6 games, but everyone gets a boost in their sack totals when they play the Packers. In the end, Rodgers will get his yards and the Packers will primarily move the ball through the air.

On the other side of the ball, the Browns have had some success running the ball. But it isn't from their top two RBs. RB Jamal Lewis has 3.5 yards/carry, and RB Jerome Harrison is at 3.7 yards/carry, while neither has a rushing TD. Their stats are getting a boost from Cribbs and his 12 carries for 101 yards. Their lone rushing TD this season came from their QB (Anderson). Meanwhile, the Packers run defense is starting to turn it up, holding RB Adrian Peterson to 25 carries for 55 yards three weeks ago, and getting into the backfield a lot last week against the Lions. While the rankings above show this to be a close matchup, the breakdown shows an edge for the Packers. It would be a surprise if the Browns rush for over 100 yards.

QB Derek Anderson has completed 41.7% of his passes this season. That has to be one of the all-time worst completion percentages. While he's never been an accurate QB, he's been a victim of a lot of drops, which still doesn't help them move the ball any. Their leading receiver is rookie 2nd round pick WR Mohamed Massaquoi, who is having a good rookie season, but no other receiver is really a threat. The Packers pass defense looks even better (No. 4 overall) at Football Outsiders because the NFL doesn't consider INTs or the Packers' ability to turn those into TDs. This doesn't look like the week the Browns will have a breakthrough in the passing game.

The Browns have been held to 6 points or fewer in half their games this season, with no more than 20 points in any single game. The Packers haven't been held under 21 points in a game this season, and have scored as much as 36. I'll split the difference. Browns 10, Packers 30.