The Cleveland Browns Defensive Starters:
DE: Jabaal Sheard, Frostee Rucker
DT: Phillip Taylor, Ahtyba Rubin
OLB: Kaluka Maiava, James-Michael Johnson
ILB: D'Qwell Jackson
CB: Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown
FS: Usama Young
SS: T.J Ward
Cleveland Browns Defensive Rankings:
Overall Defense: 22nd
Pass Defense: 25th
Rush Defense: 19th
Scoring Defense: 15th
Denver Broncos Defensive Rankings:
Overall Defense: 4th
Pass Defense: 8th
Rush Defense: 2nd
Scoring Defense: 5th
The Browns have a solid, but not great Defensive line. They don't generate much pass rush from their front 7. Juqua Parker leads the team with 6 sacks. Starters Jabaal Sheared has 42 tackles and 5 sacks, while Frostee Rucker has 42 tackles 4 sacks. In the middle of the Browns D-Line is two mammoth men. Rubin and Phil Taylor combined go for 700+ pounds. Leading the way in the middle is Rubin with 35 tackles and sacks, while Phil Taylor has 11 tackles and 1 sack. This is a overall young unit with talent, but lacks that elite pass rusher. The size of Taylor and Rubin could cause some issues for the Broncos interior line.
The Broncos will be at home sporting their orange jerseys, which may bring back some "Orange Crush" memories. Leading the way on the D-Line is Elvis Dumervil. Doom is having a solid year. He has totaled 49 tackles, 9 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Rookie DE Derek Wolfe has been very solid in his role on the Broncos defense. So far he's totaled 36 tackles and 4 sacks. Robert Ayers who has also so seen some snaps on rushing downs has 14 tackles and 2 sacks. In the middle of the Broncos D-Line, leading the way is veteran Justin Bannan. On the year Bannan has totaled 39 tackles. Big Kevin Vickerson has totaled 35 tackles and 2 sacks. This unit has been very solid, and will need to have another solid week if they want to stop the big and strong rookie Trent Richardson.
Leading the way for this unit, and a leader of this defense is ILB D'Qwell Jackson. On the year Jackson has 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 2 Ints. He's having a outstanding year. Playing next to Jackson is outside linebacker Kaluka Maiava has 51 tackles and 2 sacks, while rookie linebacker James-Michael Johnson has 36 tackles. Outside of Jackson i think the Broncos could pick on the linebacking unit of the Browns, especially in the passing game. I honestly do not know much about Maiava and Michael Johnson, so i could be wrong about their abilities. Jackson is one of the better ILB's in the league, but is forgotten because he's stuck in Cleveland. Jackson could be a force in stopping the run. That's the guy i would keep an eye on.
Continuing to have a great year is Wesley Woodyard. Woodyard on the year 105 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 3 Ints. Stud pass rusher Von Miller has 60 tackles, 16 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 1 Int and 1 TD. ILB Keith Brooking has continued his solid play in the middle. On the year the Veteran Brooking has 47 tackles. Rookie Danny Trevathan has contributed with 32 tackles and 1 sacks and DJ Williams has 13 tackles in limited action. This unit has been solid all year. On matchup i'm excited to watch is Von Miller against Joe Thomas. Thomas may be the best LT in the game, and Miller is one of the better pass rushers in the game, could be fun to watch. I expect Woodyard and Brooking to continue their solid play and keep rookie Trent Richardson from having a big game.
The Browns have a solid secondary. Joe Haden is one of the better corners in the league and veteran Sheldon Brown isn't too bad either. On the year Haden has 41 tackles and 3 Ints, and Brown has 58 tackles, 1 sack and 3 Ints. Slot corner Buster Skrine has 75 tackles Manning may have a tough time against these guys. Safeties T.J Ward and Usama Young aren't too bad either. TJ Ward has 68 tackles, 1 sack, 1 Int and 3 forced fumbles. Young has 48 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2 Ints. Like i said this might be Clevelands strongest unit on defense. Manning and company could have a tough test Sunday afternoon.
Leading the way for the Broncos secondary is future Hall Of Famer Champ Bailey. Bailey has 60 tackles and 2 Ints. Chris Harris who is turning into one Helluva corner, and is one of favorite players on this team has 51 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3 Ints. Tony Carter has 27 tackles and 2 Ints. I like these guys chances against the rookie Weeden. At safety, Mike Adams hopes to have a big game against his former team. On the year Adams has 73 tackles, 1 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Rahim Moore is continuing his solid year. Moore has totaled 61 tackles and 1 Int on the year. Veteran Jim Leonhard has 17 tackles and 2 Ints in limited action. I can see a big play or two from one of these guys this weekend.