We will all know ‘who let the dogs out’ come Sunday in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
This week, our Green Bay Packers are hosting the Cleveland Browns … and it is going to be more of a dog fight than it was originally intended to be.
If you had asked me last season about playing the Browns, it would have been a blowout. The Dog Pound hasn’t been very scary, as of late. However, the 2013 Cleveland Browns are doing things a little differently. When they decided to trade away their star running back, Trent Richardson, it appeared that the front office was just “playing dead” for this season and saving up draft picks for 2014. Ever since, the Browns have been proving the contrary.
The Green Bay Packers have been ravaged with injuries so far this season. So much so, that even the Browns of last year would scare me. Now, this improved Browns offense and agile defense are coming into town to take advantage of those injuries.
The Browns are currently ranked 22nd in rushing and 17th in passing in the NFL. With quarterback controversy and injuries to Brandon Weedon and Brian Hoyer, the offense hasn’t really had a fair shot to get going. Richardson being traded set the tone for the ground game. Willis McGahee has taken over duties, but doesn’t have the explosive factor that Richardson had, and is definitely on the decline. The Packers defense has been playing lights out lately, so these numbers seem pedestrian to our third-ranked run defense. However, our 28th ranked pass defense has something to prove; and Brandon Weedon’s erratic play could provide this secondary a confidence and spark that has been missing.
On the other side of the coin, the Browns boast a powerful run and pass defense. Ranked seventh and eighth overall, respectively, these numbers might be overwhelming for a depleted wide receiver group and a frustrated Aaron Rodgers. Eddie Lacy has been fantastic over his two-game stretch, recording 99 and 12o yards in those contests. He fought against a powerful Lions’ front seven and the sixth ranked Ravens to give the Packers a new offensive hope. Unfortunately, his production may be halted by a Browns defense who doesn’t respect our rookie receivers.
Jordy Nelson is still a big time threat. But Jarrett Boykin provided no help last week, and Myles White and Jake Stoneburner are untested rookies. If the Browns defense stacks the box against Eddie Lacy, Aaron Rodgers needs help from unlikely stars. Will he get it? Will McCarthy stay with the run, even if it seems to be stalling early? We need that balanced attack more than ever with key pieces to the offensive puzzle missing.
If we can sustain these injuries and play “next man up” football successfully, the Green Bay Packers can make sure that these dogs’ bark remains worse than their bite.