The Browns handled the Ravens last week, 13-3, as they dominated Baltimore physically and took the ball away on defense.
That is a perfect formula to beat the visiting 5-9 New Orleans Saints this Saturday in what is expected to be extreme weather conditions. The Browns will once again have to play clean, sound football to get the win on Saturday.
1. Win the Turnover Battle
The Browns are now 4-0 in 2022 when winning the turnover battle, and they're just 2-8 when they've lost in that category. The Browns had a perfect clean sheet on offense against the Ravens last week and generated takeaways on defense. A similar formula would be quite welcome against the Saints, who come into this game with the worst turnover differential in the league. The Saints have the fewest takeaways and the third-most giveaways, so the Browns should be on the right side of the turnover battle again this week.
Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the New Orleans Saints
2. Be the More Physical Team
The elements are going to be extreme at FirstEnergy Stadium, so this one is going to come down to who wants it more. Which team will be able to impose their will physically and control the line of scrimmage on a day in which it is possible that we won't see much of any passing? That is the team that will win this game — and that has to be the Browns.
With Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and a returning Ethan Pocic to an offensive line that has one Pro Bowler (Joel Bitonio) and two Pro Bowler alternates (Jack Conklin and Wyatt Teller), the Browns must be the punishing ground attack that carries the day. Add in the fact that Deshaun Watson can play a larger role on the ground this week and you can force the Saints to play true 11-on-11 defense in the run game, which should open up some lanes and provide opportunities for big plays on the ground.
This truly feels like a game that will be won on the ground and in the trenches, which suits the Browns just fine. After all, running backs have totaled more than 150 yards with a touchdown in each of the last two games against the Saints, and the Browns will make it three in a row.
3. No Big Plays
In uncertain conditions, the offense typically has the advantage because they know where they're going. The Browns defense has been extremely stout of late, especially at home, and they will need one more big time performance on Saturday. The big key will be to limit the big plays of the Saints, who have a speedy receiver in Rashid Shaheed, a dangerous runner in Alvin Kamara, a touchdown machine in Juwan Johnson and a tight end/quarterback/running back in Taysom Hill. They can't let anyone get behind them for a big play, they can't miss tackles that lead to huge runs and they can't blow any assignments. Points will be tough to come by, and making the Saints work for every point they may get is paramount to victory.