Keys to Defending the Browns
Belichick and Matt Patricia are going to enjoy working against like-minded Kevin Stefanski and Alex Van Pelt. It’s possible to defend against the Browns, particularly if they’re going to be without Chubb and Felton.
The first key is for the defense to limit the damage on the ground. The Patriots will still be facing a running back in Johnson who can clearly make you pay if given the space, but Belichick has largely down a good job keeping opposing rushing attacks in check.
On defense, the Patriots should do all they can to unleash Judon, who won’t be lining up against a true starting offensive lineman. He’s feasted all year and that shouldn’t change vs the Browns.
More importantly, the Patriots need to update their game plan from a few years ago. Peoples-Jones and Njoku are the receivers that the defense has to respect the most, rather than Landry and Hooper. Previous Browns opponents have keyed on the wrong receivers, and that has cost them.
Mayfield is not normally prone to throwing interceptions this year, contrary to his reputation as an inaccurate quarterback, but he is prone to being sacked. It’s worth dialing up different blitz packages and testing the physical health of the Browns offensive line.
One major edge for the Pats? They emerged from the Carolina game without any known new health issues on defense. And Gillette Stadium will be rocking if the Patriots defense plays tough.