The Cleveland Browns take on the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday. Both squads are looking to save face after ugly showings in their respective season openers. The Browns are once again favored to finish last in the AFC north after falling 27-17 to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Indianapolis Colts, meanwhile, found out that life without Peyton Manning is infinitely more terrifying than they ever imagined.
For the Browns, the key to Sunday's game will be getting Colt McCoy back on track. In his first ever season opener, McCoy went 19-for-40 passing for 213 yards, just 5.3 yards per pass attempt. He had little help from his teammates, however, who consistently put him in long down-and-distances with costly penalties. On the day, the Browns were penalized 11 times for 72 yards with several preventable holding, interference and personal foul calls. When they weren't committing penalties, the Browns struggled to get organized on the field. The Bengals were able to find A.J. Green wide open streaking down the sideline when Cleveland failed to get in formation in time for the snap.
The Colts were one of the few teams to match the Browns' futility last week. Without Manning at the helm, the offense mustered just 236 total yards against the Houston Texans. Houston's much-maligned secondary from last season held Kerry Collins to just over 50 percent completion percentage and 6.4 yards per attempt while the running game, led by Joseph Addai, managed only 64 total yards. The defensive front, regarded as one of the better pass-rushing units in the league, couldn't stop the Texans on the ground, giving up 167 yards.
No matter who wins, the outlooks for either of these teams appear bleak. The Browns have the Herculean task of dislodging the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens from the top of the division while the Colts look rudderless without Manning under center. Sunday's game will give a strong indication of how much fight these teams have even though, at the outset, they don't appear to have much to fight for.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, September 18; 1:00pm ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Colts: AM 1070 WFNI / 97.1
Browns: WMMS 100.7 FM