The Browns aren't about to run away from their top-ranked run game with the Patriots coming to town, but head coach Hue Jackson said the key to having a chance to win Sunday is all about balance.
"We know we have to throw the ball. There is no question about that. You have to be a balanced team against them. You can't just do one thing," Jackson said Wednesday, adding New England will do its best to try and take away Cleveland's attack on the ground, which averages almost 150 yards a game.
"We have to play a balanced football game. We have to be able to throw the ball. We have to be able to run it. We have to do what we are able to do the way we are able to do it."
For the Browns, that means sticking to what's worked over the first month of the season. Despite an array of key injuries, Jackson and Co. have started to develop something of an offensive identity behind a bruising offensive line and running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr.
The pair of runners rank first and second, respectively, in average yards gained per carry and combined for 163 yards in a loss at Washington this past weekend.
Crowell, who said Jackson told the Browns in training camp he wanted them to lead the league in rushing, said he's not surprised by the fact such an objective has become a reality.
"I did believe him because I knew we had the guys in the room to do so and I know he trusted us," he said. "I know the coaches and the staff are just going to put together a good game plan for us so that we can do so."
As the Browns continue to have success on the ground, though, left tackle Joe Thomas said "the stakes become higher" and teams "will try to sell out more in trying to stop the run game."
That, of course, includes New England.
"One thing we know about the Patriots and being a guy that played through two (Bill) Belichick disciples for four years, they are going to try to take away what we do the best," Thomas said. "Currently, it is run the football. We can expect them to come up with some big time wrinkles to try to take away our run game and do things to sell out so we have to throw the ball."
Jackson, who said Sunday offers the Browns a "good chess match," added: "I'm used to dictating the game, and I'm sure (Belichick) is used to taking the game away.
"They have been very good at it, and we have great respect for them and what they do, but we have to kind of go be who we are and let the chips fall where they may."