COMMENTARY | The 2013 Cleveland Browns are 3-0 whenever Brandon Weeden hasn't started at quarterback. They're winless when Weeden has been there for all four quarters. Stats sometimes lie, but you are what your record is.
Cleveland has, on paper, little chance of beating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field this coming Sunday. That fact doesn't just come down to who will be leading the offense of the Browns at the beginning of the contest. All eyes will deservedly so be on Weeden, though, as he has to begin coming through for his teammates and soon if he is to continue playing professional football for Cleveland for much longer.
Browns at Packers preview: Song on repeat
I am about as sick of writing about the Weeden situation as is humanly possible. With that said, I see no way that it can be avoided in any Cleveland preview at the moment. Outside of the play of a defense that has been surprisingly dominant minus a handful of moments, the 2013 Browns have won and lost based on how well or how poorly their quarterback has performed, most notably in the second halves of games.
The Packers are surrendering nearly 294 passing yards per game this season. Only four teams in the league are responsible for a worse pass defense. If Weeden cannot have at least a serviceable game at Green Bay, the Cleveland coaching staff is going to have to ask the obvious question: Is there anybody out there, even a Tim Tebow or Brett Favre, that could do better with the weapons available to Weeden?
Browns at Packers preview: Aaron Rodgers is great, but...
he is hardly the only player the Cleveland defense need worry about this weekend. Rookie RB Eddie Lacy has emerged as a real threat over the past two weeks. He rushed for an average of nearly 4.8 yards per carry on a total of 46 attempts in contests against the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens. That the Browns aren't giving up 100 rushing yards per game shouldn't fill Cleveland fans with an abundance of confidence.
The team's run defense, most notably the inside linebackers, went invisible in the second half of last week's game versus Detroit. This could be blamed on a combination of the Browns not making any adjustments after halftime and also on fatigue. A similar event occurring at Lambeau would make life even easier for Rodgers in the final half-hour of the game, which would likely mean doom for Cleveland.
Browns at Packers preview: Prediction
For the Browns to beat the Packers, at least two of these three things must happen:
Weeden will have to throw for 300+ pass yards and for multiple touchdowns while also not turning the ball over.
Willis McGahee (knee) and Chris Ogbonnaya (concussion) will both need to play and also combine to give Cleveland the team's best backfield performance of the season against what is the third-best run defense in the NFL.
The Cleveland defense must prevent the Packers from putting 20+ points on the scoreboard.
I'll come right out and say it. I'll believe it when I see it.
Prediction: Packers win 27-17
Zac has been following Cleveland sports since a little before his birth, and thus his heart breaks a little more with every year. He has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo Sports since 2010
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