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Patriots prep for another top defense in the Browns

New England Patriots

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – The Patriots are above .500 for the first time this season after a 24-6 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

“We knew we had a good team all along. You kind of see that right now. We’re on a three-game winning streak. We’ve got to keep it going this weekend against a good Cleveland Browns team,” said Patriots defensive tackle Davon Godchaux.

“I’ve been saying it all year, we know who we’ve got in the locker room. We’ve known what kind of team we have since training camp,” said Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon.

“It’s very exciting. Our potential is rising each and every time. I feel like we don’t have a ceiling,” said Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

The Panthers have one of the best defenses in the league, that is the same case this weekend against the Browns. Cleveland is second in sacks and third in yards allowed per game.

“They’ve held over half their teams to under 16 points, and the two guys on the edge, it’s hard to imagine them being better than what we saw last week, but they probably are. [Myles] Garrett’s about as good as they get. [Jadeveon] Clowney, we know what he is, so it starts there. They really do a good job defensively,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Cleveland’s Myles Garrett leads the league in sacks.

“He’s as tough a matchup as there is in the league,” Belichick said of Garrett. “Power. Explosion. Speed. Instincts. He can do it all. He’s got a tremendous skillset. Smart player. Very instinctive player. Reacts extremely quickly.”

The Browns could be missing some key pieces come Sunday due to COVID-19. Star running back Nick Chubb is currently on the COVID-19 list. The Browns were placed in advanced COVID protocols this week because of the issue. On top of that, according to Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, the team’s other top running back Kareem Hunt has been ruled out Sunday due to a calf injury.

“Still preparing for the starters. Whoever’s next is going to be next, but I’m still preparing for Nick Chubb,” said Godchaux.

Stopping the run is something captain and linebacker Dont’a Hightower said New England prides itself on.

“It’s going to be a battle of the trenches and I think the game’s probably going to be won there,” he said. “Reputation and intimidation only get you so far. All that stuff is cool, but at the end of the day, it comes down to game day. It comes down to execution.”

“You know what they say in the trenches… it’s all about the first punch. So we have to deliver the first punch,” said Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy.

“The more physical, the better you can be. So that’s what we hang our hat on,” Judon said.

Offensively, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers said the Patriots need to be better.

“You know, this is kind of starting to get into the dog days now where the season starts to feel repetitive, feel long and everybody’s going out there, putting their pride aside, focusing on that one day at a time,” he said.

The Patriots are just a half game back of the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. The Patriots look to continue their win streak this season and their home win streak against the Browns. The Patriots have won six-straight in Foxboro against Cleveland.

On the injury front, offensive lineman Trent Brown and defensive end Chase Winovich returned to practice this week after spending time on injured reserve. The Patriots now have 21 days to place them on the 53-man roster.

Running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson both have not practiced Wednesday or Thursday due to concussion protocol. Jamie Collins has also been missing from practice due to an ankle injury. Matt Judon missed practice on Wednesday because his family welcomed a child. Judon returned Thursday.

Former Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was on the radar in Foxboro this week, prior to announcing he signed with the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday. According to multiple reports, the Patriots were very interested in signing the wideout. Players were asked about Beckham this week.

“I think we have really good receivers here. Anybody that wants to help us win is obviously a benefit to the team. We’ll leave that up to Coach Belichick, and you can ask him about it, but like I said, I know for a fact he always wants people that will come here and help us win,” quarterback Mac Jones said on Wednesday.

New England Nation

New England Nation is your source for complete Patriots coverage, getting you ready for every game with exclusive insight and analysis, the latest headlines, and interviews with the players and coaches.

Watch: 11:30 a.m. Sunday on FOX Providence
Pregame Special: 11:15 p.m. on WPRI 12
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. Monday

More Patriots Coverage: New England Nation »

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