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What to Watch For, Presented by Arby's

Posted Oct 10, 2013

The Cleveland Browns end a three-game home-stand by hosting the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.


The Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions will meet Sunday for the second time this year at FirstEnergy Stadium, as the two teams met during the second week of the preseason.

Both teams look to remain in the hunt in their respective divisions. At 3-2, the Browns are in a first-place tie with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North Division, while the Lions, also at 3-2, sit in the first-place tie with the Chicago Bears atop the NFC North.

When the Browns and Lions last met in the regular season, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a last-second touchdown pass, and the extra point gave his team a 38-37 victory at Ford Field.

Despite Stafford suffering a shoulder injury on an incompletion in the end zone as time expired, a pass-interference penalty and Browns timeout allowed him to re-enter the game and throw the winning touchdown.

The Browns are 4-14-0 all-time against the Lions in the regular season, 3-5-0 in games played in Cleveland, and suffered a 13-10 setback in their last home game against Detroit on Oct. 23, 2005.

As this year’s game unfolds, there are several players to keep an eye on:

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. The eight-year veteran leads the Browns with 49 total tackles, including team-bests with 27 solo stops and 22 assists. Jackson has registered double-digit tackles in each of the last three games, all Browns wins.

Jackson had 11 tackles in wins at Minnesota and against Buffalo, and registered 10 stops, including a season-best seven solo tackles, against Cincinnati.

Linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Mingo made history in the Browns’ win against the Bengals two weeks ago, and continued to be a pass-rushing machine in the 37-24 victory over the Bills last Thursday.

By sacking Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the first half, Mingo extended his consecutive games with a sack streak to three. Mingo is the only Browns player, and the first NFL player since Tommie Kelly in 2004, to register at least one sack in each of his first three games.

Mingo is second among the NFL’s rookie leaders with three sacks, and finished the game against the Bills with four hits on the quarterback.

Defensive back Joe Haden. Haden has matched up against some of the NFL’s best wide receivers, and the challenges will continue this week when he faces Lions All-Pro Calvin Johnson.

Haden has defended 53 passes in 47 career games, an average of 1.128 per game since the 2010 season. That is the second-best average of any NFL player with 50 pass breakups since the start of the 1994 season.

Tight end Jordan Cameron. After catching three passes for 36 yards in the Browns’ win over Buffalo, Cameron leads the team with 396 yards and five touchdowns on 33 receptions. His 12.0 yards-per-reception average is the second-most on the Browns of those players with 14 or more catches.

Cameron’s 33 catches are tied for sixth in the NFL and tied for second among tight ends. He is third in the NFL in receiving yards among tight ends, and tied for sixth in scoring among non-kickers.

With two catches Sunday, Cameron will pass former running back Earnest Byner for the most receptions by a Brown in the first six games of a season (35). With two touchdowns, Cameron would equal the team mark for the most touchdown receptions in the first six games of the season (seven).

One touchdown will give Cameron six on the season, and he will become only the second tight end in team history with six or more touchdowns in a single season. Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome has six each in 1981 and 1983, and nine in 1979.

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon has gained 303 receiving yards in three games this season. It is the highest two-game total of his career. After his career-high 10-catch, 146-yard day against Minnesota two weeks ago, Gordon has been on the receiving end of eight passes for 157 yards.

Gordon caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brandon Weeden in the win over Buffalo last Thursday, and has seven receiving scores in his career. All of Gordon’s touchdown catches have been at least 20-yard gains.

Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden. Weeden entered last Thursday’s game against the Bills as the Browns’ second-string quarterback behind Brian Hoyer, but was quickly pressed into service when Hoyer was lost for the game, and the season, with what turned out to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Weeden completed 13 of 24 attempts for 197 yards with one touchdown, and carried a 95.3 quarterback rating despite being sacked five times for 23 lost yards.

Browns offensive linemen Joe Thomas and Alex Mack. Thomas has started each of the 101 games and taken 6,190 consecutive snaps since being selected by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Thomas is tied for the third-longest streak of consecutive starts among active NFL offensive linemen.

Mack has started 69 straight games, and begun 4,265 consecutive plays for the Browns.

Detroit running back Reggie Bush. When Stafford is not passing the ball to Johnson, he is handing it to Bush, who has seen a resurgence in his career since joining the Lions. Bush enters the game with a team-best 298 yards and one touchdown on 61 carries.

Johnson. In seven years with the Lions, Johnson has been on the receiving end of 509 passes, which he has turned into 8,148 yards and 58 touchdowns. Johnson has four 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, and scored 12 or more touchdowns in three different years.

Johnson’s most prolific scoring year came in 2011, when he caught 16 touchdowns and turned 96 catches into 1,681 yards. He followed that up with an NFL record 1,964 receiving yards on 122 catches last season.

Stafford. Stafford leads the Lions’ high-powered offense, and has many weapons to distribute the ball to when he drops back to pass. Through the first five games of the season, Stafford has completed 125 of 196 attempts (63.8 percent) for 1,524 yards and eight touchdowns against three interceptions.

Stafford has overcome an injury-riddled past in large part due to the Lions’ offensive line. They have given up eight sacks in five games.

Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. The Lions have registered 10 sacks, and eight of those have been by defensive linemen. Suh ranks second on the team with two sacks.

Dating back to his rookie season, Suh quickly became a focal point of opposing game plans, as he registered 10 sacks in 2010, and had eight quarterback takedowns last fall. In his career, Suh has registered 24 sacks, forced two fumbles and totaled 153 tackles.

The Browns begin a two-game road trip at famed Lambeau Field to play the reigning NFC North Division champion Green Bay Packers next Sunday. The Lions stay in the AFC North Division when they host the Bengals next week.

CONNECTIONS

Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton was the Lions’ secondary coach from 2002-03, while outside linebackers coach Brian Baker coached Detroit’s defensive line from 1997-2000.

Browns defensive line coach Joe Cullen served in the same capacity with the Lions from 2006-08, and defensive quality control coach Daron Roberts was Detroit’s assistant secondary coach from 2009-10.

Cleveland offensive line coach Mike Sullivan served in the same capacity at Western Michigan University from 2005-06, and special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor coached Western’s special teams and running backs from 2006-07.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz began his NFL career as a college/pro scout with the Browns in 1995.

Lions guard Rob Sims (Macedonia/Nordonia High School/The Ohio State University) is an Ohio native.

Former Browns defensive back Don Carey (2009) and defensive lineman C.J. Mosley (2009) now play for the Lions. Carey was selected by the Browns in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Lions defensive lineman Israel Idonije started his career as an undrafted free-agent with the Browns, and spent part of the 2003 season on the team’s practice squad. Idonije then spent the next nine seasons with the Chicago Bears, where he registered 28.5 sacks, including 7.5 last fall.

MEDIA

Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m./ET on local FOX affiliate, WJW-TV 8 as Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), former NFL fullback Heath Evans (color analyst) and sideline reporter Lisa Byington call the action.

The game is also available along the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan, former Browns left tackle Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call.

“What to Watch For” is Brought to you by Arby’s. Try the new Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich today. Tender brisket, smoked at least 13 hours and ready when you are. Arby’s. Slicing up Freshness.

The Cleveland Browns’ game against the Detroit Lions is sponsored by your Northeast Ohio Ford Dealers. Ford -- the official vehicles of the Cleveland Browns.

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