TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 16: Cleveland Browns At Denver Broncos

Browns
Broncos
Cleveland Browns v Green Bay Packers
Peyton Manning signals against the Seahawks in a preseason game in 2012. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning signals against the Seahawks in a preseason game in 2012. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Brandon Weeden has given it his all this season, but when he came out second-best in his one-on-one deal with Redskins backup rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins in Week 15, it was depressing. Weeden has completed 57.2 percent of his passes and has thrown for 3,281 yards, but he has struggled with accuracy as he has thrown 17 interceptions.
Winner The Broncos still have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but they are really playing for a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed. They can’t let an opportunity against Cleveland slip through their finger. Quarterback Peyton Manning is not about to let that happen. He has had a stellar season and should not have a problem beating the Cleveland defense.
Offense
The Browns are going to try to unleash Trent Richardson against Denver’s outstanding defense. While Richardson has an array of moves and power, it won’t be easy. Richardson has rushed for 897 yards and 11 touchdowns. Josh Gordon is a decent receiver, catching 45 passes for 759 yards. Greg Little has been a fine complementary receiver, catching 45 balls.
Winner Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas have become very productive receivers for the Broncos. Decker has developed a real rapport with Manning while Thomas has big-play ability. Decker has 9 TD catches while Thomas has 23 catches of 20yards or more. Running back Knowshon Moreno has done an excellent job of running the ball since Willis McGahee went down and out with knee and leg injuries.
Defense
The Browns rank 21st in overall defense and while they play with excellent effort, their players are not usually in the proper position to stop opposing offenses. Middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has a team-leading 105 tackles and he also has 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. Cornerback Buster Skrine is second with 75 tackles and he also has 11 passes defensed.
Winner The Broncos rank 4th in overall defense and 2nd against the run. The Broncos can beat you so many different ways with their defense. Start off with outside linebacker Von Miller, who has 16.0 sacks and is making a run at the defensive player of the year honors. Fellow linebacker Wesley Woodyard has a team-leading 105 tackles and four sacks.
Special Teams
Winner The Browns don’t do a lot of things well, but placekicker Phil Dawson is one of the best in the league and he almost never misses. He has made 26-of-27 field goal attempts this season. Josh Cribbs has yet to take a kick back for a score but he is almost always a threat to do so.
The Broncos have gotten punt and kickoff returns for scores from speedy Trindon Holliday. Placekicker Matt Prater has a big leg, but he has not been consistent. He has made 23-of-29 FG attempts this year and has made just 3-of-7 kicks from 40-to-49 yards.

The Winner Is

Peyton Manning signals against the Seahawks in a preseason game in 2012. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Winner Broncos
3 out of 4

The Broncos have been rolling and they are not about to let their winning ways end in Cleveland. Manning will not let a game against an undermanned opponent slip through their grasp. The Broncos should have an excellent chance of winning their 10th straight game.

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