Gipson, Haden Optimistic Upon Return
Pro Bowlers Return
Jim O'Neal's defense is struggling right now. He's hoping his 32nd ranked rush defense and 15th ranked pass defense will get reenergized with the return of Linebacker Craig Robertson and Pro Bowl defensive backs Joe Haden and Tashaun Gipson. "I've got fresh legs" uttered Haden in his press conference with the media this week. Haden has been marred with injuries since training camp. "I've been hurt the whole season." Haden missed much of training camp with a hamstring injury. In addition, he's missed three games against San Diego, Denver, and St. Louis with a finger injury and concussion. "I'm glad to be back."
Gipson also will be returning today against the Cardinals and is feeling optimistic. "Nine games left. That's a lot of football." Gipson believes today's opponent is prone to the turnover. Talking about the hypothetical situation where Arizona would have to throw a lot, "It'll be a long day for them and it'll be a great day for us." Gibson smiled as he mentioned Palmer's tendency to fling the ball around. He's "kind of like a Jay Cutler." In their only two losses for the season, Arizona has lost the turnover battle. It's a "boom or bust kind of game."
Turnovers will be immensely important if the Browns want to win a game in which, on paper, they are greatly overmatched. The Cardinals bring in the 5th ranked passing offense and 4th ranked rushing offense. They are well coached, tough, and have blown out teams by at least three touchdowns three of their five wins this season. The Browns cannot afford to allow the running game to be established and cannot afford to fall behind against this team.
The Browns are giving up 151 yards on the ground per game. Not only is that the 32nd ranked rushing defense, it is 18.9 yards per game more than the 31st ranked San Diego Chargers. Chris Johnson is revitalized in Arizona and is leading the Cardinals rushing attack which is averaging 125.6 yards per game on the ground. Unless the return of Robertson, Haden and Gipson includes a magic potion to slow down any running game in the NFL, I don't see this one being in the favor of the Cleveland Browns.
Prediction: Arizona 31-17