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New Orleans Saints prepare to play the Browns, adjust to elements, in Cleveland on Saturday

'The focus really has to be on the team we're playing, and not really about the elements'

Quickly, New Orleans Saints Coach Dennis Allen on Monday moved to eliminate the elements as a possible excuse for the Saints (5-9) performing any other way than expected when they take on Cleveland (6-8) on Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

It's an approach that is admirable and will be needed, because reality is that it's forecast to be miserable: a high of 13 degrees, 48 percent chance of snow, 33 mph southwesterly winds.

"It's going to be cold and windy," Allen said. "But, look, it's going to be cold and windy for both teams. And so, we're not going to make too big a deal about it.

"We're going to prepare for the Cleveland Browns, and then we'll have to adjust, from a gameplan standpoint – how do you adjust to the elements. Sounds like it might be a little windy, based on what I'm seeing as of right now. So we'll monitor that throughout the week. But really the focus really has to be on the team we're playing, and not really about the elements."

Still, the one aspect that could be more influential than others could be the windy, which can affect several aspects of the game for New Orleans, coming off a 21-18 victory on Sunday against Atlanta and looking for its first two-game winning streak of the season.

"I think depending on how strong the wind is, or direction, those types of things, it can affect the ball in the air, whether it be kickoff, punt, field goal, throwing the football," Allen said. "Those are all things where the wind can be a factor. So that's something that you've got to pay attention to."

The Browns will enter with the league's fifth-best running game, at 149 yards per game. New Orleans allowed 231 rushing yards to the Falcons on Sunday, and allow 132.6 per game, 10th most in the league.

But Allen said each game assumes its own personality, so no assumption can be made that the Saints will be ineffective against the run on Saturday. Too, Allen said, the priority of rushing yards allows pales in comparison to points allowed, and the Saints are allowing 17.6 per game over the last five, including 16 per game over the last three.

"I think (run defense is) an area that we've got to improve on," he said. "(But) I don't think last week's game is any indication of next week's game.

"I think ultimately, the job of the defense is to minimize scoring. That's what the defense's job is, and how can we try to take the ball away and get good field position for our offense. Over the last, I guess it's been about the last five weeks, I think defensively we're (allowing) 16, 17 points per game. And I think that's winning football. We've got to continue to do what the ultimate goal is, which is to limit the number of points allowed.

"The area that we're going to continue to work on and continue to try to get better at is finding ways to take the ball away and set our offense up for good field position."

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