Today the Browns take on the Tennessee Titans in Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns will be trying to do something that has been a rarity since their return to the NFL — put together a winning streak that lasts for more than two games.
Although the season is young, this game is an important one because the Browns schedule is “back-loaded.” The Browns don’t play the Steelers or the Ravens until December — and then they play those two teams four times in the last five games. If the Browns hope to be in the playoff hunt as the season winds down, they have to win the winnable games early in the season and then hope to take a few games from these two powerhouse divisional rivals.
Today’s game against Tennessee is one of those early-season games that the Browns really need to win. The Titans, like the Browns, are 2-1, and are led by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who is off to a fast start. They are primarily a passing team on offense, without much of a running attack. The Browns defense has been able to put pressure on the quarterback in each of their first three games, and they will be trying to sack and harass the 36-year-old Hasselbeck. Offensively, the Browns will be looking to get off to a fast start for the first time this season. The Browns’ first half performance in their games so far has been brutal, and they need to start to develop a consistent offensive rhythm that works throughout the game. Having Peyton Hillis back, with the increased confidence that should come from last week’s last-second winning touchdown drive and breakout performance by Montario Hardesty, should help.
At the end of every NFL season, teams that don’t make the playoffs look back at the results and can always identify games they should have won — but didn’t. The Browns already have one such game — the season opener against Cincinnati — and they can’t afford another.