coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
On 11/25/2013 06:47 PM in NFL

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns: Preview and Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns: Preview and Pick

The game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cleveland Browns could be one of the ugliest games of the week. These two teams are floundering and the season looks lost as they are just playing out the string. This game is at Cleveland but there is little motivation for these teams to finish the season on a string note. The Jaguars are playing better in the past few games while the browns are still searching for answers.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns Odds

The opening NFL point spread for this game is a bit surprising. The Browns were listed as (-7) point chalk notwithstanding the fact that they are not playing great football. The betting public is aware of how badly the Browns are playing and over 67 percent of the money is coming in on the road team despite the fact that the Jags are one of the worst teams in football. Make sure to check the latest point spread for this game leading up to kickoff at your top rated online sportsbook.

If the Browns have oe bright spot it is the play of wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon caught 14-of-17 targets for 237 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's loss, including 8-of-9 targets from Brandon Weeden for 166 yards and a touchdown. Gordon's 237 receiving yards was the second-highest total this season (Calvin Johnson- 296 yards, Week 8 vs Cowboys). Other than Gordon, Browns quarterbacks had no help.

The Jags will look to shut down the Browns like they did the Texans. In that game, Maurice Jones-Drew posted season highs with 84 rushing yards and 60 receiving yards Sunday against the Texans. If he can run the ball, the Jaguars have a chance to keep on winning.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveal betting angles that should not be ignored. The total has gone over in 5 of Jacksonville's last 7 games overall and the total has gone over in 4 of Jacksonville's last 5 games on the road. Jacksonville is 2-14 straight up in its last 16 games overall and 2-10 straight up in its last 12 games on the road. From a betting standpoint Jacksonville is 3-6 against the spread (ATS) in its last 9 games on the road and Cleveland is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games. Cleveland is 1-5 straight up in its last 6 games overall and the total has gone under in 4 of Jacksonville's last 6 games when playing on the road against Cleveland

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of is big game, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
11/26/2013 01:48 PM

Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."

Gus Bradley, the Jaguars' coach, has a different view.

Even after the team won its second game in three games by beating Hooton, 13-6, Sunday, he stuck to his mantra that winning isn't everything.

"If everybody on our team plays to the best of their ability, that's even better than winning," he said.

He then qualified by saying that if they play their best all the time, "the winning will take care of itself."

Of his "winning is the only thing" comment, Lombardi later said he meant to say "the desire to win is the only thing" or "the will to win is the only thing."

Lombardi won five championships in Green Bay in the 1960s, so he's remembered for saying winning is the only thing.

In a league that is obsessed with winning, Bradley takes a different approach and he thinks the two wins in the last three games after eight consecutive double-digit losses validates that approach.

He said improving is "higher than winning."

With a game coming up at Cleveland followed by two home games against teams they beat on the road (Houston and Tennessee) sandwiched around a game against Buffalo, the Jaguars have a good shot at winning more games and topping last year's 2-14 record.

He added, "You hear teams that say maybe they didn't play well and still won the game. Our objective is to really sustain this and play at a high level all the time, regardless of who we play."

In the end, though, coaches get fired if they don't win.

In 2002, Tom Coughlin did one of his best coaching jobs with a roster depleted by the salary cap problems and lost five games by 10 points. He still was fired when the team went 6-10.

Bradley is in his first year so he has time to put together a winning team. But at some point, playing their best isn't enough. The Jaguars have to start to start winning in the next year or two.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
11/26/2013 01:50 PM

After the Browns loss to the Steelers on Sunday, T.J. Ward let out some of his frustration publicly. It is not something the team would want to have happen, but at the same time, it serves a purpose given the circumstances of the past two weeks. The defense has had the game taken out of its hands before it really had a chance. They played well and gave up little but hard to notice that when the offense and special teams had already lost the game. Ward’s comments are important because it shows the defense cares, but the timing of them coming after the Steelers game is notable because it demonstrates how important that game is to him and the rest of the defense.

The past two weeks have been a spectacular failure by the offense and special teams in the case of the Bengals game. Against the Steelers, the Browns offense gave them a touchdown in the form of Brandon Weeden throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. A fumble on the hit that injured Jason Campbell was returned to the 4 yard line and ultimately went in for a touchdown. That is already 14 points that the defense had virtually no part; the offense only scored 11 points in the game. The defense could have been flawless the entire game outside of a 4 yard pass play and they still lose the game, unless they are able to score points for the offense.

The Browns defense did score points for the offense in the game against the Bengals as Joe Haden had a pair of interceptions; one of which he was able to score himself and one which put the offense on the doorstep and the offense was unable to get into the end zone. They settled for a field goal. The Browns defense spotted them a 10 point lead and the offense and special teams melted down in historic fashion in the second quarter.

It started with a tipped interception that put the Bengals on the Browns 12 yard line. The next possession was followed up with a tipped punt that put the Bengals on the Browns 38 yard line. Then, the Bengals score on a blocked punt followed by a fumble return for a touchdown. The offense scored 10 points, which is exactly how much the defense scored for them.

The Browns defense has not been perfect. They are not going to be perfect. Ward is not perfect and needs to continue toget better. Nevertheless, teams are going to score some points. However, in the past two weeks, the offense and special teams have lost the game before the defense has had a chance to get on the field, even in a game where the defense scored points for the offense. It has to be incredibly frustrating for the defense to have the game over before they have a chance to do anything.

In some respects, Ward’s frustration has the feel of a lawyer making an outburst in court knowing it will be held against them just to get it in the minds of the jury. Ward was wrong in the sense that he should not have made the comments publicly but right in the sense that he got the frustration on the record. It shows the defense cares and the timing of doing it after two weeks when the defense was completely screwed as well as playing two division opponents in a row. The timing of it being after the Pittsburgh game is key to this as well. It would not mean as much after a game with Jacksonville. It carries more weight with Pittsburgh. This also cannot be something that happens often. It has an impact when it happens once at a time like this one. It loses its significance if this becomes a monthly or weekly occurrence.

The Browns defense gets criticized too much for what has been a great year. The offense has been so bad, the margin of error for the defense has been almost nil and in the past two weeks, has been out of the game before they had a chance. This team’s offense has been a disaster. It already underlines what was already clear; the front office is going to have to make the right moves to get a franchise quarterback and build a legitimate offense to pair with a talented defense. The defense is trying to establish an identity and become a presence within the league. For the most part, they have done that but it makes it difficult to do that when the offense is as impotent as it has been.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
11/27/2013 01:54 PM

Brandon Weeden will start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, coach Rob Chudzinski announced Wednesday.

Jason Campbell, who was injured in last weekend's 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, is still going through the NFL's concussion protocol and is listed as doubtful.

This marks the fourth time this season the Browns have changed quarterbacks due to injury or ineffectiveness.

"It's not easy," Chudzinski said. "And it's not ideal. But it is what it is right now."

Campbell was injured in the third quarter against the Steelers when he was struck in the helmet by cornerback William Gay. No flag was thrown on the play, although the Browns said they will submit the play to the league for review.

The beleaguered Weeden was booed when he replaced Campbell. Weeden completed 13 of 30 passes for 209 yards with a touchdown and interception that was returned for a touchdown. Weeden, who opened the season as the club's starter, has thrown for six touchdowns and seven interceptions in seven games.

Chudzinski acknowledges that Weeden has had a tough season, but he says he's handled losing his job professionally and believes he can turn the boos into cheers.

"Everybody realizes that Brandon needs to play well to win," Chudzinski said.

If Campbell is not ready to be the backup, that job could fall to recently signed Alex Tanney.

The Browns (4-7) have lost five of their last six games.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
11/27/2013 01:55 PM

He tracks snaps played and missed tackles. He catalogs run stuffs and quarterback pressures. He documents double-teams and one-on-one match-up success.

But the statistic that had Jaguars defensive line coach Todd Wash excited Tuesday regarded his group’s effort in Sunday’s 13-6 win over Houston.

“We chart loafs and had only 11,” Wash said. “We’ve almost cut those in half and that’s a credit to those guys.”

Those guys were accurately criticized throughout the season’s first half. In the first eight games, they combined for five sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

But since the bye week, the Jaguars’ front four has flashed much more often, posting two sacks and nine tackles for loss.

“I think they’re overcoming my coaching,” Wash said with a laugh.

Wash, who left the same position in Seattle to follow long-time friend Gus Bradley to Jacksonville, changed the meeting room’s focus entering the Week 10 game at Tennessee.

“When we watched the [tape] cut-ups, we noticed that our fundamentals lacked in games 4-8 compared to the first three games — we saw it in our pass rush and we saw it a lot in our run game technique,” Wash said. “It was a big emphasis to get back to the things we hammered out during training camp.”

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
11/28/2013 11:06 AM

The Cleveland Browns were flirting with playoff contention just two weeks ago. Now, after two disappointing setbacks they find themselves on the brink of an all-too-familiar position - a last-place finish.

While the Jacksonville Jaguars already saw their postseason chances evaporate long ago, it hasn't kept them from playing solid football of late.

Cleveland hopes Brandon Weeden can turn things around when he makes his first start in more than a month Sunday against the visiting Jaguars.

The Browns (4-7) were very much alive in the murky AFC playoff picture until suffering back-to-back divisional losses by a combined 37 points. Those results saw them slide to last place in the AFC North - a spot they've finished eight of the last 10 years. Any more losses would prove almost fatal to their slim postseason hopes.

They committed four turnovers in consecutive games for the first time since December 2004. They haven't done so in three straight contests since December 1978.

Accounting for two of those turnovers was Weeden, who replaced Jason Campbell after he suffered a concussion late in the first half of Sunday's 27-11 loss to Pittsburgh. Weeden was 13 of 30 for 209 yards, a touchdown and an interception while also fumbling once.

With Campbell still sidelined, the twice-demoted Weeden will make his first start since an Oct. 20 loss to Green Bay. Cleveland hasn't won with Weeden as its starting quarterback since Dec. 9.

Weeden was greeted by boos almost as soon as he came in against the Steelers, though he said the lack of crowd support doesn't bother him.

"I know that he has the backing of his teammates," coach Rob Chudzinski said. "The type of guys that we have in the locker room, their support for him, they want to win and everybody realizes that Brandon needs to play well, as everybody does."

Once having the look of a potential winless club with eight straight double-digit losses to begin their season, the Jaguars (2-9) appear to be making progress. They've won two of three with victories at Tennessee and Houston, and seek their first consecutive victories since December 2010.

"Our objective is to really sustain this and play at a high level all the time regardless of who we play," coach Gus Bradley said. "That's what we're really striving our team to get to, where they play their best all the time. If we do that, the wins will take care of themselves."

A resurgent defense has keyed Jacksonville's improvement, surrendering 218 yards in last week's 13-6 victory over the Texans, its fewest allowed in two years. The run defense has been especially stingy, yielding an average of 58.0 yards in the last three contests after giving up 161.8 per game in the first eight.

"We really locked into a couple (defenses), but I think our guys are starting to understand it better," Bradley said. "I think they're getting a comfort level now of how to play their responsibility yet keep themselves alive for the whole play. That's what you're seeing on tape. You're seeing guys do that now, and because of it, they're playing with more confidence."

The Jaguars also discovered some offensive balance versus Houston, with Maurice Jones-Drew recording a season-high 144 total yards and running for a touchdown for the third straight game.

He could be in for a difficult day against a Browns defense that ranks sixth against the run (97.7 ypg) and is one of three clubs yet to allow a 100-yard rusher. However, Jones-Drew is averaging 100.7 rushing yards over his last three games versus Cleveland.

For the Browns, receiver Josh Gordon is likely to draw a lot of attention after tying a team-record with 14 catches for a franchise-best 237 yards against Pittsburgh. He's just 301 yards shy of Braylon Edwards' single-season record of 1,289 set in 2007.

"It really doesn't mean that much to me," Gordon said. "After taking a loss like that, it means nothing. If we can't go out there and win, I really don't care about it."

Jacksonville held Houston's Andre Johnson to a season-low two catches after he entered averaging 7.2 per game - the league's fourth-best mark.

The Jaguars lead the series 9-5 but have dropped three of the last four meetings including a 14-10 defeat in Cleveland on Nov. 20, 2011. Jones-Drew totaled 118 yards on 25 touches with a score.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
11/29/2013 02:44 PM

1. Cleveland quarterbacks and Jacksonville quarters both completed exactly 44.3% of their respective passes in opponent’s territory this season. For the Browns, they’ve completed 82-of-185 tosses, with consistent marks both in the red zone and in between the 49-21-yard-line. For the Jags, they are 77-of-157 overall, but have struggled mightily in the red zone to the tune of just 27.3%.

2. In the past six games, the Browns have allowed 171 points (28.5 per game). That’s the most in a six-game stretch since a similarly poor mid-season run in 2007. Yes, the defense isn’t necessarily all at fault, as they’re the only team in the NFL yet to allow a 275-yard passer or a 90-yard rusher. The offense also is largely responsible because of the stat below.

3. The Browns have committed exactly four turnovers in each of their last two losses. Teams with exactly four turnovers are 809-1,998-49 (.288) entering this week. Generally speaking, that’s not a very sustainable method for football success when you’re handing the ball back to the other team. On the year, seven of the Browns’ 13 interceptions have come on 1st-and-10 plays.

4. The Jaguars’ DVOA — Football Outsiders‘ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average rating — has improved of late to now being only -47.2%. Finally, that’s slightly better than the mark by the winless 2005 Detroit Lions at -48.4%. But they remain by far the worst team in the NFL. Cleveland ranks fifth-worst at -21.3%.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
11/29/2013 02:46 PM

Here are 10 things the Jacksonville Jaguars must do to beat the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday…

1. Keep doing what they’re doing.
Whatever the Jaguars have been doing the last three weeks, it has been working. They’re 2-1 after the bye and they’ve played their three best games of the season. A lot of it has been about listening to Head Coach Gus Bradley. A lot has been playing better defense. Whatever it has been about, it has worked better than it did the first eight games.

2. Protect Chad Henne.
This may or may not be one of the 10 most important things, but whatever … Henne deserves some protection. He was under constant pressure last week against Houston, and stood tall in the pocket. He had one of his better games under those circumstances. The Browns’ defense maybe isn’t quite as good as the Texans, but it’s still very good – and Henne still needs time.

3. Get the ball to Cecil Shorts III.
This remains necessary, but it sure won’t be easy. When Shorts last played an elite corner – Patrick Peterson of Arizona – he caught two passes for 22 yards and expressed disappointment with how he was used. Browns cornerback Joe Haden is at least as good as Peterson and has limited some of the NFL’s elite receivers this season. Still, Shorts is the Jaguars’ best wide receiver. He needs the ball … even if getting it to him is difficult.

4. Get Mike Brown involved – or Ace Sanders … or …
The Jaguars continue to look for answers offensively, and with the Browns ranked No. 4 in the NFL in defense that won’t be easy. The Jaguars need plays from receivers other than Shorts, and those could come from Brown, who is expected to return from a shoulder injury and start Sunday. Rookie Ace Sanders also could be an option. He had the longest reception of his career – a 51-yarder against Houston – and has been improving each week.

5. Keep run blocking.
The Jaguars weren’t dominant run-blocking against the Texans last week but they were good enough to allow Maurice Jones-Drew to run for 84 yards and the Jaguars as a team to rush for 118. Both of those numbers were season-highs. The Browns are a better run defense than the Texans, but balance is still needed. Keep working to achieve it.

6. Keep MJD running – and catching.
Jones-Drew got better blocking against Houston than he had much of the season, but he ran better, too. As important was how Jones-Drew played as a pass receiver, catching six passes for 60 yards. The running game probably isn’t going to produce consistent 120-to-130-yard games, but if the offense can get 130-to-140 total yards from Jones-Drew … well, that means a lot of good down-and-distance situations.

7. Create turnovers.
The Jaguars produced just one takeaway against the Texans – that after producing none in a loss to the Cardinals the week before. But the Jaguars’ got the one against the Texans when it mattered, with defensive end Ryan Davis intercepting a tipped pass from Case Keenum in the final minute to secure the victory. The takeaways need to come earlier against Cleveland. They’re still the best way for this team to get early momentum and an early lead.

8. Stop the run.
On paper, this is attainable. The Browns have struggled to run this season. The Jaguars have improved dramatically in that area in recent weeks, holding their last three opponents – the Titans, Cardinals and Texans – under 100 yards rushing. This is important – and not just for Sunday’s game in Cleveland. The Jaguars are starting to believe in themselves defensively. It’s time to build on that.

9. Get a play on special teams.
The special teams have played well much of the season – a blocked field goal by the Texans Sunday notwithstanding. The unit has produced a safety, some big kickoff returns and punter Bryan Anger has controlled field position much of the last two weeks. Still, playing on the road this week, a special teams touchdown would be key. Calling Ace Sanders?

10. Maintain momentum.
This could be, “Keep Believing,” or, “Keep Listening to Gus Bradley,” or any number of entries along those lines. Bradley has continued to preach a message of improvement and he has continued to emphasize that if players play as well as they can, then winning will take care of itself. While it may sound like Coach Speak and while it may sound too positive for some, players clearly have bought in and believe in the direction. That approach has gotten this team out of a tough situation coming out of the bye. The approach also has led to victories in two of three games. So, keep believing? Yes, no doubt.

coleryan Posts:11962 Followers:19
11/30/2013 05:57 PM

The Jaguars have ruled out wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion) and running back Justin Forsett (foot) and listed wide receiver Mike Brown (shoulder) is questionable.

Brandon Weeden starts at quarterback for Cleveland with Jason Campbell (concussion) ruled out. Linebacker Tank Carder (shoulder) is also out and linebacker Craig Robertson (knee) is doubtful.