Falcons at Browns: 5 big what ifs ...

In the fifth game of the season, what if ...

1. Cleveland running back Peyton Hillis keeps rolling.

After searching for years, the Browns appear to have found a legitimate running back in Hillis, a former Arkansas Razorback.

The Falcons remember him from his days in Denver. He rushed for two touchdowns and gave the Falcons their only defeat at home during the 2008 season.

He has landed in Cleveland and is shooting for his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game and his fifth consecutive game with a rushing touchdown. He is the first Cleveland back since Greg Pruitt to score a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games. Pruitt had five in a row in 1975.

Hillis ran for 144 yards in a lost to Baltimore and then ran for 102 against Cincinnati and helped the Browns run out the final 4:41 to seal the 23-20 victory.

"He runs the ball real physical," Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson said. "That was the real emphasis in practice. It's definitely going to be a physical game. We have to prepare ourselves that way."

Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall (120) and Arizona's Tim Hightower (115) have rushed for more than 100 yards against the Falcons this season.

2. The Falcons decide to punt and kickoff to Joshua Cribbs.

Cribbs, a returner/receiver/running back for the Browns, is a game breaker.

"He's a busy guy for us," Browns coach Eric Mangini said.

He has 107 return yards, which puts him 12th on the career list with 8,443. He has 12 catches and is a more polished route-runner.

The Falcons know they have to account for him on special teams and when he's in on offense. The former quarterback at Kent State will line up the backfield in the Wildcat formation.

"He's been productive here early on in the receiver position for us," Mangini said.

The Falcons have allowed a kickoff returned for a touchdown and a long 72-yard punt return. However, the kickoff return was nullified by a holding penalty.

"We'll make sure that everything is tightened up this week, and we have to make sure that we especially do our jobs well," Falcons punter Michael Koenen said.

3. Falcons running backs Michael Turner and Jason Snelling run well.

The Falcons will face another 3-4 front. They didn't run well against Pittsburgh and San Francisco's 3-4, but they absolutely mauled Arizona's 3-4.

The Browns are pretty sturdy up front and have some massive bodies to stack the line of scrimmage in Shaun Rogers and Matt Roth.

The Browns give up 108.8 yards per game, which ranks 17th in the NFL. The Falcons lead the league with 149 rushing attempts through four games. The Browns held the Bengals to 67 yards rushing last week.

The Falcons need Turner to get rolling. When Turner has 22 carries or more, his team is 14-1, dating to his San Diego days. In those 15 games, he has rushed for 1,793 yards (119.5 per game) and 20 touchdowns.

So the magic number for Turner is 22.

Since the start of the 2008 season, Turner's 28 rushing touchdowns are tied for the second most in the NFL.

"They are a tough defense," Turner said. "They have been doing great against the run so far. Hopefully we can bring our A-game and match what they are doing."

Snelling averages 4.8 yards per carry and has been solid in short-yardage situations.

4. Falcons get off to a fast start and force the Browns to throw.

The Browns' passing attack is anemic.

For the second week in a row, the cornerbacks can take the game off. Like San Francisco, the Browns don't throw it much outside to the wide receivers.

The leading receiver is tight end Ben Watson, with 18 catches.

The leaders in catches among the receivers are Cribbs with 12 and Chansi Stuckey (Northside-Warner Robins) with 10. Former Georgia standout Mohamed Massaquoi is listed as the No. 1 receiver, but has only four catches.

Brian Robiskie has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury.

Also, Jake Delhomme is trying to come back from a sprained right ankle, suffered in the season opener Sept. 12. If Delhomme can't play, Seneca Wallace will remain at quarterback.

Wallace has a 82.2 quarterback rating over his three starts, while the Browns have leaned heavily on their running game.

"Seneca I think has done an outstanding job for us in the time that he's played," Mangini said. "To have a 100 quarterback rating against the Ravens' defense is pretty impressive. He's consistently moved the ball for us. He's made plays with his feet."

5. Roddy White turns in a megagame.

Last week, Cincinnati's Terrell Owens torched the Browns' secondary for 221 yards receiving. The week before, Baltimore's Anquan Boldin had 142 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

White leads the NFC with 32 catches for 362 yards and two touchdowns.

He could be due for a big game against Browns cornerbacks Sheldon Brown, Eric Wright and Joe Haden.

"Roddy White is a really good player," Mangini said. "There is not much that he can't do. I've seen him catch a short one and run it for 90 [yards]. I've seen him beat corners one-on-one and catch the fades. I've seen him catch underthrown fades."