The Patriots are coming off an impressive shutout win of the Detroit Lions but will face another tough task this week against the Cleveland Browns, who have battled their way to 2-3 record with every game coming down to the wire. There's little reason to think the Browns, who boast some of the best duos on either side of the ball in the entire NFL at running back and edge, will give the Patriots any other kind of game.
Matthew Judon, the AFC's reigning Player of the Week, said the team will have to forget their strong performance against Detroit and prepare for an entirely new challenge that will face them in Cleveland.
"There's no carryover, it's a different scheme, a whole different team, and we're going to have new challenges to face this week and we know what they can do well," said Judon. "They have two really great running backs that are playing really well, the quarterback's playing nicely, completing balls and taking what the defense gives him and they have a wide receiver that's playing really well. We have to go in there and stop it and show up again."
Tight end Hunter Henry should see plenty of the talented edge duo of Jadaveon Clowney and Myles Garrett, who are both battling injuries but still able to blow up an offensive gameplan. Across the Browns defense Henry sees speed.
"They're good, really really good," said Henry. "They're fast, they have two edge guys that are top of the crop in the league, that can change the game in an instant. That's always tough on both sides to have that. Each level of the defense they're really really fast. We're going to have to be ready to play and play against those top-level guys."
Judon agreed with Henry's assessment but said there was only so much he could steal from other top sackmasters around the league.
"I've watched those guys and I admire their game but I'm kind of me at this point, Year 7, I'm kind of stuck in my ways," said Judon. "They're both first overall picks, they were that for a reason, freakish, athletic guys... but there's only so much I can steal from their game, I gotta be me."
This will be the Patriots' first trip to Cleveland since 2016, but they'll be ready for a raucous atmosphere that has always been one of the best in the NFL.
"That is a sports city, they love it, no matter the score or the record they're going to pack the building, and right now they're playing very nicely and they're going to be in there and it's going to be start to finish," said Judon. "We just gotta go and ignore the noise. Block out all the fans and who came and who came to see you until the clock hits zero and go play."