Regardless of who lines up at quarterback on Sunday, there is one thing that fans can rest assured of--the Indianapolis Colts will not lose to the Cleveland Browns.
Were Peyton playing this would be a game that I would set the DVR for and watch while feeding the kids Monday morning. It would have been boring. Peyton would have picked the Cleveland D a part and got the team out to a big enough lead in the first half that they would simply coast the rest of the way.
But Peyton isn't playing; we got Kerry Collins instead. Dwight Freeney could line up at QB for the Colts and still get the win though.
The Browns are the NFL's equivalent of the Have-Nots. They simply do not have enough pieces on the field on either side of the ball to be competitive on a regular basis. Guys like Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis will keep the game interesting, but they will not be enough against the Colts D.
I am aware that the Colt defense will be short two out of three starting linebackers. Between that fact and the fact that Collins is only now closing in one being with the team for a month I think this could actually be a pretty good contest.
The missing pieces on defense will give the Browns what they need to put a few first downs together and possibly score. There are still enough play makers on the Colts D for them to be fine. However, they are going to vulnerable inside the box, and when your running back is of the fullback variety that is exactly where they are going to go.
For the Browns to be successful, they need the offense to control the ball. Success for the Colts will require Kerry Collins and the offense get as many opportunities as possible. They showed last week that they will get better in time. After another week of practice, they should not take nearly as long to get started as they did against the Houston Texans.
It goes without saying that the special teams units will have to keep the Browns from making any big plays.
This game will be close. The Browns are an up and coming team that still has a way to go. The Colts are a collection of talented veterans in need of an identity. They'll take a step closer to finding it after defeating the Browns.