Last week the Packers garnered a season high 199 rushing yards against Tampa Bay!
Since the Minnesota game when quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down on the second offensive series, the Packers have become a little more run-oriented team. In the past seven games (including Minnesota), the Packers have rushed 180 times for 845 yards (a 4.7 average) and 8 TD's. Green Bay is averaging 120.7 yards rushing per game!
But if there is one thing the Cleveland Browns do well it is stop the run.
Cleveland is 6th in the NFL, yielding just 96.9 yards rushing and first in yards per rushing attempt at 3.3!
Up front, they are talented at end with the first pick in the draft last spring, Myles Garrett, and inside massive Danny Shelton, a first round pick in 2015.
They do a great job of screening the offensive line and allowing the linebackers like Waukesha’s Joe Schobert (2nd leading tackler in the NFL) and Christian Kirksey (5th in the league in tackles) to flow to the football.
This is an active defensive front and they will key on Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones, trying to force the Packers to have to win the game through the air.
One other note about the ground game: From some forecasts it could be a snowy day in Cleveland Sunday and if that is the case, it will be a test of the Williams/Jones combination on a sloppy track against a front seven that is better than an 0-12 record would indicate.
Brett Hundley vs. Cleveland defense
Greg Williams coordinates this much improved defense for the Browns. He is best known for his role in “Bounty Gate” at New Orleans when the Saints won the Super Bowl. He has also been a long time assistant to Jeff Fisher at Tennessee and with the Rams.
He plays less nickel and dime than almost any coordinator in the league. He picks his spots on the blitz and I would imagine he will pressure the young Green Bay quarterback a lot this weekend. Williams' defense is 22nd in sacks per pass play and has only four sacks in the last three games, but trust me, he will come after Brett Hundley.
Hundley needs to be more accurate than he was a week ago. There are plays to be made downfield; Davante Adams against veteran Jason McCourty the former New England Patriot should be fun to watch.
Where the Packers might have an edge is in the slot. Briean Boddy-Calhoun has not practiced all week due to a knee problem, and if he can’t go in the slot, the Packers should be able to take advantage with both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson.
All in all this is not the defense of a typical 0-12 team. They are 10th in yardage, 6th against the run and 17th defending the pass. However, they are 26th in scoring giving up 25.6 points per game and their opponent’s passer rating is 31st at 103.0.
So the Browns are good defensively but they are not "Pittsburgh" good.
Why are the Browns 0-12? They certainly don’t look like an 0-12 team when you watch their games.
They have lost four games by three points, five games by less than ten points and for the most part they are in almost every game they play.
The difference is the rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer. He has committed 20 turnovers (15 interceptions, 5 fumbles) this season. He is last in the league in completion percentage and interceptions. At times he looks great and other times he looks lost and will make the big turnover that gets his team beat.
Brett Hundley is going through an up and down campaign as well. If the two young quarterbacks struggle again, and given the weather possibilities, one would figure the ground game could be the difference Sunday. Whoever runs the ball more effectively and/or stops the run will come away with the “W.”