The Green Bay Packers (3-2) will line it up today against the 1-5 Cleveland Browns and for the second straight week, should have little trouble against a bad football team. Afterall, if there’s one thing we’ve learned so far this season is the Packers know what to do when they face a cupcake. They dominated St. Louis and then last week, shutout the Lions.
Players wouldn’t admit to it this week, but the rematch with the Vikings is on their minds. And it could play out well for the Packers. They get a soft matchup against the Browns and the Vikings have a physical matchup against the bruising Pittsburgh Steelers today.
To make things easier for the Packers today, the Browns lost their best defensive player, (LB) D’Qwell Jackson to injury, at least a dozen players were hit with the flu this week and the teams best cornerback, Eric Wright, rolled his vehicle in a early morning (Friday) crash.
The Brown’s also haven’t gotten anything from their quarterbacks. 2007 first round pick Brady Quinn was benched after 2 1/2 games and his replacement, Derek Anderson has a 41.7 quarterback rating. In the Brown’s only win of the season, Anderson went 2 for 17 with no touchdowns and 1 interception.
The Brown’s also lead the league in dropped passes (21), which makes life even more difficult for Eric Mangini’s offense.
The Packers are trying to rid themselves of careless mistakes. The Packers have the fifth-most penalties (43) for the fourth-most yardage (359) in the NFL this season. They committed 13 penalties for 130-yards against the Lions.
The Packers made an attempt to bolster a running game that ranks 19th in the NFL at 101.2 yards per game by signing veteran Ahman Green on Wednesday. Green rushed for 8,162 yards and 53 touchdowns for Green Bay from 2000-06 and needs 46 more yards to surpass Jim Taylor and become the franchise leader. He was cut by Houston in February and didn’t participate in a training camp. He’s not expected to play against Cleveland today.
The Brown’s have little offensive punch. Cleveland’s offense ranked 31st in total yards per game (254.7), and 30th in points per game (11.5). Josh Cribbs is the teams only real play-maker and he’s the teams return man and will run roughly a dozen plays out of the Wildcat.
Keep an eye on Packers rookie outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who was a backup until last week. But he leads the team in quarterback sacks with 3, two of them coming last week against the Lions.
Are the Packers looking past Cleveland and ahead to the Minnesota Vikings? Perhaps that could happen. But will it matter? No. Cleveland is so bad, the Packers will get through this one, in convincing fashion, and then you can bring on the Vikings.