1. This goal won’t change for the Browns until they accomplish it: They must get off to a faster start. The Browns have been outscored 58-6 in the first quarter this season, and they can’t afford to continue to play from behind time and again. The Rams are ranked 29th in the NFL in points allowed (26.4 per game), so perhaps the Browns can take advantage of a struggling defense.
2. The Browns’ top two running backs — Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and Montario Hardesty (calf) — are out today with injuries. Still, the Browns must get their running game going with Chris Ogbonnaya (3.0 yards per carry) and Thomas Clayton (2.0 yards per carry) serving as replacements. The Rams have the league’s worst defense against the run (153.6 yards allowed per game).
3. The Browns must find a way to sustain drives after going just 4-of-12 on third downs last week against the Houston Texans. The Browns are ranked 29th in the league in scoring (14.9 points per game). But the Rams are even worse — they’re ranked 31st (12.5 points per game). The offense that gets its act together could carry its team to victory.
4. The Browns must take care of the football. They have fumbled — quarterback Colt McCoy lost one and Ogbonnaya lost the other — during their first possession in each of the past two weeks. Those turnovers led to early deficits and eventual losses. The Browns have slipped to a minus-1 turnover differential for the season. On the other hand, the Rams’ turnover differential is minus-2.
5. The Browns’ defense must perform better against the run. Last week, defensive coordinator Dick Jauron’s men were physically dominated, allowing the Texans to rush for 261 yards. The Browns are 1-5 when they allow an opposing running back to rush for 90 yards or more. Rams running back Steven Jackson has rushed for 130 yards or more in each of his past two games.