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How the Browns defense matches up against the Cardinals offense

The Browns defense at home has held teams to an average of 13 points

Myles Cardinals

On Sunday, the 4-3 Browns will take on the 1-7 Cardinals at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns defense will face a Cardinals offense who still has some uncertainty at quarterback. 

On Tuesday, the Cardinals traded their starting quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, to the Vikings in exchange for a sixth-round pick. With Dobbs starting every game this season, the Cardinals were ranked 28th in passing yards with 1,447 passing yards. They were also 20th in points scored with an average of 18.9 points per game. 

As of Thursday, the Cardinals have yet to name their starting quarterback for Sunday's matchup. It will either be QB Kyler Murray, who is coming off a knee injury and makes his return, or rookie QB Clayton Tune. Neither quarterback has played a quarterback snap this season. Tune's lone appearance in the regular season this year was to run a fake punt in Seattle in Week 7.

"I think we're kind of familiar with Kyler and what he's capable of and the type of player that he is out there," CB Denzel Ward said. "Yeah, definitely a little bit more difficult watching the other guy (Tune), but like I said, just got to come prepared and study their receivers and see what they like to do, and I think we'll be good."

Check out photos of the team working to prepare for the Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals offense has been struggling and will have a tough challenge with either quarterback in the passing game. But both quarterbacks may affect the game with their legs, just like Dobbs did.

Dobbs and a committee of running backs have helped the Cardinals rush for a total of 1,102 yards, which ranks as the fourth best in the league. During games, the Cardinals also utilize a couple of QB draws, and both Murray and Tune could be employed in a similar fashion.

"I think that we have eight games of their offense on film and with (Josh) Dobbs running," DC Jim Schwartz said. "They ran a lot of quarterback runs. So, I wouldn't be surprised if there's anything different with Kyler Murray if he plays; and I would expect  if the rookie plays, for them to stay with what they've done. I don't imagine that they would change the entire game plan just for one guy."

In all, the Browns defense has an opportunity to dominate Sunday's game. The defense's worst games this season have been on the road – with the late-game touchdown to Seattle in their 24-20 loss in Week 8 and the 39-38 win over the Colts, when they gave up the most points this season. At home, they have held two teams to three points and held the best offense at the time in the 49ers to 17 points. 

The Browns have playmakers all around the field. DE Myles Garrett has been the best pass rusher in the league. His 26.3 percent pass rush win rate is first in the league. In the secondary, they have CB Martin Emerson Jr., who, in Sunday's game against the Seahawks, allowed a 27.1 passer rating when thrown to his side. He also caught his second interception of the year and had two pass deflections. They also have Ward, who caught his first interception of the season against the Colts and has seven pass deflections.

As a team, they have a total of 20 sacks and have allowed a total of 1,143 passing yards this season. They are still number one at stopping opponents from getting a first down at 25.9 percent. They also have the lowest opponent completion percentage, with 55.4 percent.

The Brown's defense should cause havoc on Sunday, but they are not taking the Cardinals for granted. 

"It's the NFL, so there's not a bad team in the NFL," Ward said. "So we can't take anybody lightly. We got to go in and do our job, like I said, and execute and take care of our business. So regardless of record, it's whoever wins that day."

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