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Let's start things off on a positive note:
After three consecutive games of dog shit weather in Cleveland, the Browns finally get a break this weekend.
Sitting at 7-3, this is what the Playoff Picture looks like in the NFL:
This is what the Browns have left:
- vs. Houston (W)
- vs. Philadelphia (W)
- @ Jacksonville
- @ Tennessee
- vs. Baltimore (MNF)
- @ New York Giants
- @ New York Jets
- vs. Pittsburgh
They're taking care of business, and that's what matters.
Miami plays the Jets today (with Fitzpatrick at QB), the Colts & Titans will play each other, the Ravens have essentially a team of backups playing the Steelers on Tuesday Night Football, and the Raiders are in Atlanta. The Browns will gain some ground on at least one team if they win, possibly two if the Steelers take care of business against the Ravens.
But that's the thing: the Browns need to win. Historically, these are the spots the Browns barf all over themselves and lose.
So far this season they've been able to close games.
Against a depleted team, with their own healthy offense, and in nice weather, there are no fucking excuses for losing today. It's once again a must-win in an AFC Playoff race that will likely send one 10-6 team home before the postseason even begins.
When talking about the Browns vs. the Jaguars, there is only ever one game (or play) to show…
Funny enough this game saved the Browns season and helped them make the playoffs, the last time they achieved such a feat. The last time they played in Jacksonville was back in 2014 where they walked in with a 3-2 record and proceeded to get their doors blown off.
NOTE: The lines may have changed since this graphic was made…
I finally broke my streak of going 1-1 last week by hitting both the spread and total.
The "obvious" pick here is Browns -7, so I'll take that, but the total is slightly trickier. Cleveland gives up points at will, and their offense is healthy against a ravaged Jaguars defense… but the 48.5 seems almost too easy to bet?
Regardless, life is too short to take the under.
PICKS: Browns -7, OVER 48.5
SEASON RECORD: 11-7 (ATS: 5-5, O/U: 7-3)
Hold for a stunning list…
OUT: Myles Garrett (DE - COVID-19), Porter Gustin (DE - COVID-19), Joe Jackson (DE - COVID-19), Andy Janovich (FB - COVID-19), Sione Takitaki (LB - COVID-19), Greedy Williams (CB - IR), Sheldrick Redwin (S), Denzel Ward (CB)
QUESTIONABLE: Andrew Sendejo (S), Wyatt Teller (OG), Nick Harris (C)
OUT: Josh Allen (DE/LB - IR), Chris Claybrooks (CB - IR), D.J. Hayden (CB - IR), CJ Henderson (CB - IR), Leon Jacobs (LB - IR), Josh Jones (S - IR), Josh Lambo (K - IR), Andrew Norwell (OL - IR), Josh Oliver (TE - IR), Dontavius Russell (DL - IR), Daniel Thomas (S - IR), Chris Thompson (RB - IR), Dede Westbrook (WR - IR), DJ Chark (WR), Chris Conley (WR), Aaron Lynch (DE/OLB), Sidney Jones IV (CB), Ryquell Armstead (RB - COVID-19)
QUESTIONABLE: Gardner Minshew II (QB), Dare Ogunbowale (RB)
I mean, holy fuck.
To complain as a Browns fan after looking at that Jaguars injury report would be disgusting.
It sucks the Browns don't have Myles Garrett, and the fact that Denzel Ward will likely miss games vs. Tennessee, and Baltimore, but the Jaguars are fielding half a team on defense!
If the Browns offense doesn't go off today, they can fuck right off…
Seriously. Against a defense that barely has any starters playing, the Browns offense better hang at least 35 points on the Jaguars today…
( - unless all of their drives are long Chubb-Hunt time killers)
The Browns offense wasn't great by any means last week, as they once again battled the elements from mother nature, but they got the job done.
That's what the Browns' ground game does to teams. Almost all of their wins have featured one, or two long runs in the second half that put the nail in the coffin for a victory. They weren't great for much of the game, but they wear teams down and open up holes for explosive runs when it matters most.
Just look at what Nick Chubb can do to defenses…
Who is stopping that late in games after taking it in the chin from Chubb for three quarters?
I also have to show some love to Wyatt Teller, easily one of the league's best offensive lineman right now, for blocking THREE guys on that Kareem Hunt touchdown run…
His return from injury has been massive.
Baker was fine last week, even though his two early misses inside the red zone kept the game close…
He has no excuses this week in terms of weather, as I've already said 100 times, but it is worth noting he has made a few big throws the last few weeks. His connection with Rashard Higgins is undeniable, and he continues to show signs of shaking off the stink of the previous two regimes. He has to be better, though, and will always be criticized more for his bad misses than his good throws, which is fine, but the reality of his situation following last year's blunders.
Also worth noting that the Jaguars have NINE… 9!!! (Myles Garrett has 9.5 himself)… sacks this season, so Baker should have his cleanest pocket of the season.
A bad defense now gets even worse…
The doubled-up news of Myles Garrett being out again, and then this…
He has been an All-Pro this year and his absence from an already bad secondary is going to be brutal the next few weeks.
The guy hasn't started a game since 2017, a season in which the Bears benched him for rookie Mitch Trubisky. He's also throwing to a depleted set of weapons, with tons of injuries across the board.
Will the Browns really let this guy go off today?
It's possible. No franchise is better at making bad quarterbacks look good than the Browns, but come on… MIKE GLENNON!?!?
Even with Myles Garrett out, the Browns are once again going up against a horrible offensive line in Jacksonville (bottom 10 in the league), so I expect another big game. For some bizarre reason, Olivier Vernon had his best game with the Browns without Myles Garrett last week…
…and another monster effort would be appreciated.
I am hoping the Browns offense is enough to make the defense irrelevant today, but I already have concerns about the bullshit we might see Andrew Sendejo & the Lads pull today.
The defense against Tyler Eifert…
Assuming he plays today, he poses the biggest threat to spread the poor Cleveland defense. The Browns haven't stopped a tight end in 40 years, so why start today? The nightmare scenario today featuring the Browns losing, probably includes Tyler Eifert going off with Mike Glennon.
The Browns are going with all white today…
Looks fresh, but I do like the white jersey & orange pants combo the most for the road.
Please don't fucking lose today.
PREDICTION: Browns defeat Jaguars, 35-17