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With Difficult Schedule on Horizon, can Jacoby Brissett Continue Playing at High Enough Level?

Jacoby Brissett has Cleveland Browns fans believing in his ability to lead this team after two strong performances. The schedule is going to ramp up in difficulty so it's fair to ask if Brissett can play well enough to keep the Browns in contention.
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With a third strong performance looking like a real possibility against the Atlanta Falcons for Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett, matching the 'elite' three-game stretch by former Browns journeyman Jason Campbell in 2013, how realistic is it that Brissett will be able to continue to overperform for the next two months and avoid the return to the muck the way Campbell did? It stands to reason that there will be a regression, but there are compelling reasons why Brissett could still outperform expectations and have the best stretch of play in his career.

After a season-opening debut that had some critics calling for backup quarterback Joshua Dobbs or for the team to make a panic trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, Brissett has turned in impressive performances in back to back games for the Browns as the interim starter rallying a fanbase desperate for someone to believe in.

Even as the Browns were expected to do well against a September slate that includes the Carolina Panthers, Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Falcons, the team hasn't won in the manner most predicted. The Browns were supposed to win with defense and a potent running game led by Nick Chubb. One half into the season, the team followed that script. Starting the final drive of the game against the Panthers, Brissett has provided a lift to the offense while the defense has been uneven to put it kindly.

The Browns do have other options that can create offense and cause problems for a defense in the passing game. Donovan Peoples-Jones played a critical role in defeating the Panthers, catching six passes for 60 yards. The past two games, he's been targeted a total of four times. It's frustrating that he can have such a big impact in one game including three contested catches and one of the two passes on the game-winning drive and then disappear in other games.

Especially as the second tight end, Harrison Bryant could be another good outlet. He's made a handful of catches this year, but he has shown the ability to get open and catch passes.

The Browns coaching staff needs to make a concerted effort to keep these players involved, but some of that is on Brissett. Through three games, there are examples where he misses open targets or simply prioritizes Cooper over these other options. As prudent as that might seem, it's not always the right move and will become more problematic in the coming weeks if the Browns find themselves in tight situations if Brissett doesn't gain trust in his other teammates.

As long as Cooper continues to operate as the team's North star in the passing game, they will only need to find one more target to have a good game, which goes to show just how valuable of having a true #1 receiver. Failing that, the Browns can cobble one together out of other options, which can include Kareem Hunt out of the backfield.

Given that the Browns are currently averaging 190.7 yards rushing per contest and the Falcons are surrendering over 100 yards per game despite facing two of the worst four rushing offenses in the league to date, the Browns may have good reason to feel confident heading into this matchup.

After Atlanta, the Browns will be tasked with hosting the Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots followed by back to back divisional games against the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.

Not only are these teams equipped with more defensive talent, they will feature coaches who will switch up their looks in an effort to confuse Brissett. Several of these teams also have the firepower to put up more points and should the Browns get off to a sluggish start, be forced to play out of their comfort zone. That stretch of games will provide an excellent test for Brissett and what he is able to do.

Even if Brissett's numbers will likely regress as the season advances, he can still have the best season of his career and enable the Browns to enjoy success on offense as long as they remain effective in the running game and Amari Cooper continues to play the part of a #1 receiver. All of that should add up to the Browns being in position to fight for a spot in the postseason.