This Sunday, the Green Bay Packers (3-2) will play host to the Cleveland Browns (3-3) at Lambeau Field. The game will kickoff at 3:25 CT with coverage on CBS. The Packers enter the game on a small two game win streak, while the Browns are coming off of a 14 point loss to the Detroit Lions.
The Packers have once again been bitten by the injury bug in a severe way. Wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones both suffered injuries against the Baltimore Ravens. Cobb broke his fibula and is expected to miss six to eight weeks, and Jones is expected to miss the game against the Browns after spraining his knee on a blocking play early in the game. With Cobb and Jones out, the Packers will enter the game with only two healthy wide receivers, Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin, and tight end Jermichael Finley as targets for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
With those two weapons out, the Packers will rely on running back Eddie Lacy to carry the work load for the offense. Lacy has impressed during his last two games, rushing for 99 and 120 yards. Coach Mike McCarthy emphasized during the offseason that the Packers had to have a more effective running game to take some of the load off of Rodgers. In three of the last four games, the Packers have effectively run the football with three different running backs rushing over 100 yards. With the lack of offensive targets, Lacy will need to continue that trend.
On the other side, the Browns are trying to stay in the race for the AFC North title. After week three, it looked like this team was heading toward disaster. Quarterback Brandon Weeden was struggling and the team had just traded away running back Trent Richardson, the number three pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. After benching Weeden for Brian Hoyer, the Browns went on a three game winning streak and catapulted themselves into the division lead. But, Hoyer tore his ACL and the Browns are back to their losing ways.
Something that shouldn’t be taken lightly by the Packers offense is the tough Browns defense. Cornerback Joe Haden has shown why he was the seventh overall draft pick in 2010. Haden has demonstrated the ability to shut down his half of the field, which means that Nelson will have a tough task trying to get open.
After the Browns game, the Packers have two difficult division games against the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears. Because of that, this game could be considered a “trap game.” If the Packers overlook the Browns, the Browns could walk away from Lambeau with a victory. I have a feeling that Coach McCarthy won’t let his team fall victim to the “trap game,” and that this team will preserver and get the much needed victory.