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SERIES: 44th regular-season meeting. The Browns lead the series, 33-9-1. The Browns have played the Redskins only once since returning to the NFL in 1999 and won that game, 17-13, four years ago. Prior to that, the Browns beat the Redskins only once since 1971, and that also was a 17-13 victory in a game on Nov. 27, 1988.
PREDICTION: Redskins 23-19
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Browns are coming off a season-high 454-yard offensive outburst Monday night. QB Derek Anderson made the right reads, WR Braylon Edwards held onto passes and Donte Stallworth's return helped keep the secondary honest in the attention it paid to Edwards. With RB Jamal Lewis running hard, that gave the Browns newfound balance. Still, how effective the Browns' offense can truly be depends on whether TE Kellen Winslow is able to return. ... When NT Shaun Rogers is on the field, the Browns have a respectable run defense. Well, Cleveland will need him to play a lot of snaps to contain league rushing leader RB Clinton Portis (643 yards). Cleveland's young secondary is coming off a strong game against the Giants, but the Redskins will still test the corners plenty. Campbell hasn't thrown an interception this season, but WR Santana Moss has just two catches the past two games.
KEY INJURIES: Browns -- DE Shaun Smith (broken hand) is out; Winslow (undisclosed illness) still was not able to practice midweek. Redskins -- RB Ladell Betts (knee) is out; SS Chris Horton (ankle) could be a game-time decision.
FAST FACTS: The Browns have nine interceptions after recording just 17 all of last season. ... Portis' teams are 30-10 (.750) when he rushes for at least 100 yards.
--TE Kellen Winslow was at the Browns training complex Thursday, but he did not practice. The Browns hope he can practice Friday. Winslow missed the game against the Giants and was hospitalized three nights last week because of an undisclosed illness.
--RT Kevin Shaffer became more involved in practice Thursday. He has not had contact since suffering a concussion Sept. 28 in the game against the Bengals.
--RT Ryan Tucker returned to practice after resting his knee on Wednesday. He was limited Thursday.
--Coach Romeo Crennel said SS Sean Jones was "frisky" in practice after missing four games recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.
--RB Jamal Lewis is getting into a groove. He rushed for 166 yards in the first three games and 167 yards in the last two games.
--OT Chris Samuels didn't practice for a second straight day because of a sprained knee and ankle but is expected to start on Sunday.
--RB Clinton Portis didn't practice for a second straight day because of a hip flexor but is expected to start on Sunday.
--SS Chris Horton didn't practice for a second straight day because of a sprained ankle but is expected to start on Sunday.
--DE Jason Taylor (calf) didn't practice on Thursday but is expected to play on Sunday.
--CB Carlos Rogers (calf) didn't practice on Thursday after taking limited work on Wednesday but is expected to start on Sunday.
--CB Shawn Springs injured his calf at the end of practice. His status for Sunday is unsure.
--CB Fred Smoot (calf) was limited for a second straight day and is questionable for Sunday.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
The Browns are fourth in the NFL with nine interceptions and have picked off three in each of the last two games, but they are in for a test Sunday when they face the Redskins.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning went into the game Monday against the Browns having thrown only one interception. Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell is even better. He has thrown 179 passes and completed 115 of them -- six for touchdowns. Every other starting quarterback has thrown at least two interceptions. Campbell hasn't thrown any. His discipline and precision with the ball are major reasons the Redskins are 4-2.
Only three teams have more interceptions than the Browns. Green Bay and Tampa Bay each have 11 and Tennessee has 10. All three rush the quarterback better than the Browns do. The Packers have 12 sacks, the Buccaneers 11 and the Titans 15. The Browns have seven sacks.
What makes the nine interceptions even more remarkable is they were without starting strong safety Sean Jones for the last four games while he recovered from knee surgery. Jones hopes to play against the Redskins.
"A big difference from last year to this year is we're being more aggressive," free safety Brodney Pool said. "We're trying to make plays instead of waiting for the plays to come to us.
"We have (cornerback) Terry Cousin in the (meeting) room. He's brilliant. He's calling out stuff for us. We're talking more. This is going to be a test for us. (Campbell) has done a great job protecting the ball all year. The plan is to get turnovers. Hopefully this week we'll carry it over."
Eric Wright leads the Browns with three interceptions. Mike Adams has two. Pool, Brandon McDonald, Cousin and D'Qwell Jackson have one each.
At times, teams have picked on Wright. Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh beat him for a touchdown. He had trouble covering Derrick Mason in Baltimore. But his success against the Giants and his game-changing interception return of 94 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter earned him recognition as AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Wright is in his second season. At times he did not always listen to head coach Romeo Crennel, but that is changing.
"Sometimes when you have the ability of Eric Wright, you get a little overconfident in what you're able to do," Crennel said. "When I tell him he needs to play with a particular leverage, he doesn't always feel like he needs to play with that particular leverage. He thinks he can play with a different leverage and still get it done. He's learning. He understands that when he uses proper technique and proper leverage that he's pretty good."
Wright admitted he has to do a better job of listening to his coaches. Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is a former defensive back at Wisconsin and was the Browns defensive backs coach for three years before being promoted.
"I think I'm continuing to develop as a professional in the league," Wright said. "A lot of that has to do with playing solid assignment technique and playing the right leverage. It's obviously helped me this year as opposed to last year when I pretty much did things off sheer physical ability."
Wright intercepted one pass and broke up 11 last year.
The Cleveland Browns just torched the New York Giants' previously top-ranked pass defense for 310 yards, two touchdowns and a 70-yard bomb. And now, three days before meeting the Browns, the Redskins finished practice on Thursday with their top cornerbacks hurting and their fourth corner having given up the critical 43-yard pass that cost them a victory over the previously winless St. Louis Rams.
"I worry about it," said Redskins coach Jim Zorn. "(But) every team is like that right now. Some teams are worse off than we are. I fully expect our guys to push through."
That might be true for cornerback Carlos Rogers, although he slipped from limited practice on Wednesday to just watching on Thursday because of a calf injury. However, fellow starting cornerback Shawn Springs, who missed the Philadelphia game on Oct. 5 with a strained calf, re-injured the calf at the end of Thursday's practice. His status for the Browns is unsure.
Third cornerback Fred Smoot, who left the Rams game with an aggravated groin, was limited in practice the last two days, leading Zorn to say that he's the least likely of the trio to play on Sunday.
When Smoot wasn't able to play on the final drive against St. Louis, Leigh Torrence took his place, only to be beaten by rookie receiver Donnie Avery on the underthrown bomb from Marc Bulger that set up Josh Brown's 49-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired.
"I'm in man-to-man coverage and you know they're going to try to take a shot," Torrence said. "(Avery's) one of their deep threats. I was just trying to make a play on the ball. I wasn't able to come up with it. I definitely could've been a hero. That's kind of the life you live out there on the corner. I can make that play. I didn't on Sunday. I expect to make it in the future. It wasn't the first pass I've ever got caught on me and it probably won't be the last."
Smoot sympathized with his replacement's quandary on the underthrown pass.
"That's the most dangerous ball to a cornerback," Smoot said. "(The receiver) can judge it and we can't. Nine times out of 10 it's gonna be a (defensive) pass interference or he's going to have a better chance to catch the ball than we do."