Tomorrow afternoon the Cleveland Browns come to town to face the Arizona Cardinals at UOP stadium. The Cards are winners of five of their past six games, with the current W streak being three games. The Browns have suffered this season in the wins column, but they bring a stingy pass defense with them.
Hit the jump to see what five things the Cards need to do to ensure a victory.
It all starts with the QB. Signs point to John Skelton getting the start for the Cardinals Sunday. While big John has managed to have a Tebowesque like effect on the Cardinals, he needs to protect the football much better. Last week against the San Francisco 49ers he had two interceptions and one lost fumble. Normally when a team is negative in the turnover game, they lose the game. The Browns have the 2nd best passing defense in the NFL. This shouldn't scare Skelton, but he needs to be smart with the football.
Speaking of smart with the football, expect to see Beanie Wells get his number called quite a bit on Sunday. The Browns excel in pass defense, and come in thirty-first on rush defense. Wells needs to have a big day, setting the offensive tone. Mix in a dash of LaRod Stephens-Howling, and the Cards should run all over the Browns limiting the number of passing looks John Skelton needs to take.
Receivers. If the ground and pound game plan is working, the receiving corps will see fewer touches this week. Larry Fitzgerald will be lined up against Joe Hayden and will most likely draw another man in coverage. This means that Early Doucet and Andre Roberts should have favorable coverage during their routes. These match-ups need to be exploited when the Cards do work the air game.
Offensively the Browns struggle, and to complicate things for the team, Seneca Wallace gets the start for a concussed Colt McCoy. The front seven of the Cards need to continue the pressure they've generated in the past two games against the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. Keep Wallace uncomfortable, and keep him contained.
Special Teams. The Browns have Joshua Cribbs. This man has play-maker abilities when he touches the ball. Special teams coverage needs to be sharp in their containment. On the flip side, look for the Hyphen or Patrick Peterson to perform well in the return game, offering the Cardinals favorable starting position if not a special teams score.
Those are my top five things the Cards need to accomplish in the game tomorrow for a victory. Until the game, live Cards large!