Earlier this week I posed 5 questions to the Dawg Pound Daily‘s Steve DiMatteo about Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. DiMatteo was gracious enough to answer my questions. Here are my 5 questions and his responses:
1. It looks like Colt McCoy will start Sunday. What have you seen out of him that gives you hope that the Browns will win?
– Two things are obvious through two games started by Colt McCoy: the accuracy that defined him in college has followed him to the pros, and the fact that he is more than capable of handling the offense. By that, I mean he doesn’t make careless mistakes and, at times, he’s helped move the offense fairly well. If he can steer away from big mistakes and continue to make clean passes, the Browns will be competitive.
2. What can the the Browns carry over from their big win over the Saints when they play the Patriots Sunday?
– The idea that they can hang with any team in the league. The Browns have seen their fair share of fourth-quarter leads squandered this season, so this is not a team to be taken lightly, and the win over the Saints proved that their game plan will work when executed throughout the course of an entire game. This defense – which is much improved – just needs to keep doing what it is doing, while the offense can build on the fact that it was able to move the ball on the Saints defense when it counted.
3. What is one advantage the Patriots have over the Browns, and one advantage that the Browns have over the Patriots?
– The Patriots’ biggest advantage continues to be Tom Brady. The Browns defense was able to royally confound Drew Brees two weeks ago, but it’s hard to imagine that happening to Brady. The defense is just going to have to hope that throwing a variety of looks at the Pats offense will slow them down just enough. The Browns’ biggest advantage might, oddly enough, be its offense. Even though the Patriots are 6-1, the defense has been shaky during stretches of this season and, even better, the Browns are playing at home. The Patriots won’t fall for so many trick plays, but I do believe the Browns will be able to move the ball on the New England defense.
4. Which Browns player is key to them getting a win Sunday and why?
– The key to the Browns getting a win will actually be running back Peyton Hillis. Colt McCoy isn’t being asked to do much of anything other than manage a game while making as few mistakes as possible. There is certainly pressure on McCoy to perform in his first home game, but the Patriots will be looking to take advantage of the fact that the rookie is just that – a rookie. If Hillis has a strong game, it takes some of the attention away from the anemic passing game, and can open up the offense. If the Browns want to win, Hillis will have to be a major player as both a running back and a receiver.
5. Game prediction?
– I think the Browns will hang in there, riding some of that confidence gained from the Saints game. However, the Patriots are, well, the Patriots and I just don’t see them losing. Patriots win, 27-13.