Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Cleveland Browns

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Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) runs the ball against the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Stop the Run

The Browns don’t have the most heralded group of running backs in Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, and Shaun Draughn, but they’ve been relatively effective for Cleveland to this point. As a unit, the Cleveland running backs have passed the century mark in both games this season, with both Johnson and Crowell showing some good burst against the Titans last week.

Oakland put a lot of effort into shoring up their run defense over the offseason and it’s paid off – sort of. The first two running backs they faced this season, Jeremy Hill of Cincinnati and Justin Forsett of Baltimore both topped the 1,000 yard mark in 2014. The Raiders’ run defense held both to under 100 yards on the ground.

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The problem though, was that they seemed to have more difficulty stopping the backups as Giovani Bernard gained 63 yards on just eight carries in week one and Lorenzo Taliaferro had some good bursts and picked up some solid yards for the Ravens in week two.

The point is that run defense needs to be steady and swallow up whoever has the ball coming out of the backfield.

The key against Cleveland though, is going to be taking away that running game. They need to make life miserable on the Browns’ running backs and shut it down as completely as possible. If the Raiders can do that, if they can take away Johnson and Crowell, they’ll force Cleveland’s offense to become one dimensional which will play into their favor.

If they can shut down the running game, the Raiders have to like their chances with Josh McCown trying to win a game for Cleveland on his own.

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