By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
What: Browns (3-4) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (7-0), 1 p.m., in Arrowhead Stadium.
TV: WOIO Channel 19 with Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts.
The set-up: Just in time for a trip to one of the NFL’s loudest venues to face the season’s only undefeated team, the Browns have made a switch to Jason Campbell – their third starting quarterback in eight games. In Kansas City, Campbell will meet the defense that leads the league in sacks, third down conversions, red zone and scoring. The eardrum-rattling noise in Arrowhead Stadium mandates unbroken concentration from the offensive line to avoid motion penalties that could put the offense in unwinnable situations.
Series history: Browns lead, 11-10-2.
Historical footnote: The last time the Browns visited Kansas City, they received record performances from Josh Cribbs and Jerome Harrison and outlasted the Chiefs, 41-34. It was Dec. 20, 2009. Cribbs had kickoff return TDs of 100 and 103 yards in the first half. In the second half, Harrison had three TD runs, including one of 71 yards, as he rolled up 286 yards on 34 carries. As a team, the Browns finished with 351 rushing yards on 49 attempts.
Chiefs update: A tried-and-true formula has resulted in the season’s only unbeaten record. They are 7-0 because of a conservative, ground-oriented offense that doesn’t turn the ball over; a voracious, opportunistic defense; and positive play on special teams. The Chiefs have not allowed more than 17 points in any game this year. A couple other factors: Their opponents have a 15-33 record, with only Dallas above .500. And they have faced backup quarterbacks in three of their last four games.
Browns update: Jason Campbell becomes the third QB to start a game this year as he replaces Brandon Weeden. Campbell hopes to extend some drives and give the defense some needed time off. In their last two losses, the defense has surrendered 62 points while the offense has been awful. Some of the blame falls on the defense. It has sunk to 29th in third-down conversions, allowing an unacceptable 45.3 percent. On offense, all eyes will be on WR Josh Gordon, the subject of persistent trade rumors. This is the last game before the Tuesday trade deadline.
Injury report: Browns – LB Quentin Groves (ankle) is doubtful; DE Billy Winn (quad) is questionable. Chiefs – WR Dwayne Bowe (groin) and S Kendrick Lewis (ankle) are questionable.
Our take: The Browns need a near-perfect game on defense and special teams to have any chance to win because the offense is breaking in its third quarterback in eight games. The defense not only has to be stout against RB Jamaal Charles, it has to produce some turnovers. And it would be a big lift to the offense for returners Travis Benjamin and Fozzy Whittaker to give the offense premium field position, if not score on their own. The Chiefs don’t make a lot of mistakes on offense and feast off a defense that leads the NFL in four of the most important categories: sacks, third downs, red zone and scoring.
Prediction: Chiefs, 24-10.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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