CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns are ready to prove last week’s second half performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers is more indicative of what kind of team they will have this year as they get set to battle Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints today in the Browns’ home opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.
**The Browns home opener airs on FOX 8. Our NFL coverage begins at noon, followed by the big game at 1 p.m. Stay tuned to FOX 8’s post-game show after the Browns’ game.**
Cleveland is coming off that disappointing finish in which the team scored 24 points in the second half but lost to Pittsburgh in the final seconds on a last-second field goal. It was the 10th straight opening day loss for the Browns.
Ben Tate is out with a knee injury and tight end Jordan Cameron and linebacker Barkevious Mingo are questionable for today’s game. The injury to Ben Tate means Browns’ fans will get to see more of the rookie running backs, Terrance West who rushed for 100 yards last week and Isaiah Crowell who scored 2 touchdowns.
Offensively, the running game needs to be efficient which will allow Brian Hoyer to have success throwing the ball against Rob Ryan’s defense.
The Browns’ defense needs to play the way they did in the second half last Sunday if they are going to have a chance against Drew Brees and the Saints.
New Orleans has an arsenal of offensive players led by tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston.
The Saints struggled last week making tackles; in fact, they led the league in missed tackles in their opening-day loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Browns also need to tackle better. They had more than a dozen missed tackles that allowed the Steelers’ running backs to have a lot of success and allowed the Steelers to outscore the Browns in the first half, 27-3.
Defensive back Justin Gilbert is also looking to bounce back after his rough outing against the Steelers in which he allowed Ben Roethlisberger to have success throwing the ball.
The Browns hold a 12-4 advantage all-time against the Saints, including a 4-2 record at home. Today’s game will mark the Saints’ first game in Cleveland since September 10, 2006.
Once again, kick-off from FirstEnergy Stadium is at 1 p.m. and you can watch it all on FOX 8.
Heading to the game? Teams have put in place an NFL policy this year that limits the size and types of bags that can be brought into stadiums. *CLICK HERE for details*