Five Key Matchups to Watch in Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns

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Browns TE Jordan Cameron vs. Lions 3rd Down/Red Zone Defense

Sep 29, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron (84) make a catch during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Browns beat the Bengals 17-6. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

When a team has a relatively


inexperienced quarterback like Brandon Weeden, he tends to use a receiving tight end in pressure situations. Jordan Cameron is emerging as a receiving tight end, and a good one. Third downs and red zone plays are pressure situations.

See how that all ties together?

The Lions field one of the NFL’s best defenses in third down and red zone situations, as Justin Simon explained a few days ago. The Browns don’t sport a terrifyingly efficient third down offense, but Cameron, the Browns’ leading receiver, is a player that can do damage if the Lions don’t pay him proper attention.

Who covers Cameron may vary. DeAndre Levy, who has excelled in short coverage this year, might draw some looks, as will Stephen Tulloch and whichever safety is on his side. Whoever it is, they need to stay in his hip pocket for the majority of the game.

The Bills showed last week that Cameron can be contained, as he finished the game with three catches for 36 yards and a fumble. But against the Bengals and Vikings in his two games prior, he had a combined 16 catches for 157 yards and four touchdowns. The difference there might be catching passes from Hoyer rather than Weeden, but the Lions would do well to not test that theory.