NFL Wire News

Week 7 Preview: Browns at Rams


The Sports Xchange

Cleveland Browns (2-4) at St. Louis Rams (2-3)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis – TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta

*Keys to the game: Rams RB Todd Gurley averaged 152.5 yards in his first two career starts and even behind the poor St. Louis line, gains 5.7 yards per carry. That’s a perspiration stat for Browns coach Mike Pettine, whose defense is 32nd against the run (149.8 yards per game). Gurley had 30 carries at Green Bay and could work overtime if the Browns can muster an answer. The more Gurley does, the easier life becomes for the line and QB Nick Foles.

Cleveland is one of the very few teams in the NFL that can say it is satisfied with the play of the offensive line. LT Joe Thomas and DE Robert Quinn could be an epic battle, but QB Josh McCown should be reminded scrambling can be a health hazard against this defensive line. Working the perimeter to TE Gary Barnidge and RB Duke Johnson has helped the Browns extend drives to the tune of a 46.7 third-down conversion rate despite a lackluster running game.

*Matchup to watch – Browns NT Danny Shelton vs. Rams C Tim Barnes: Shelton played a season-low 26 snaps last week and admitted he’s finding the adjustment to the NFL game more challenging than expected. Barnes isn’t big or strong, but he’s aggressive and relentless. If the Rams move the Browns off the ball, they’ll control the game.

*Player spotlight – Browns WR Travis Benjamin: The speedster has shown his hot start to the season was no fluke. He has 31 catches through six games after posting 41 receptions in his first three seasons combined.

*Fast facts: McCown is the first Browns quarterback with four consecutive two-TD passing games since 2007. … Rams DT Aaron Donald has seven sacks in his past seven home games.


Neither outfit can storm out of St. Louis with a lopsided win without dominating the turnover battle, but similarly matched teams with a penchant for taking games to the fourth quarter whittle this game down to a late kick.

*Our pick: Rams 29-27.

About The Sports Xchange

Since 1987, the Sports Xchange has been the best source of information and analysis for the top professionals in the sports publishing & information business