Friday, December 8, 2017

Browns Preview 12/8/17: Green Bay Packers @ Cleveland Browns

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

The 6-6, Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers travel to Cleveland this week to take on the 0-12 Browns. If at the beginning of the season someone told you the Packers would be 6-6, the Browns were winless but still had a chance no one would have believed you. Its also been a fun Thursday as a Browns fan, Sashi Brown was fired and Hue Jackson will remain the Head Coach in 2018. *insert Mike Polk "Fun times in Cleveland Again". But on to actual game...

Browns Offense vs Packers Defense

I know this is crazy to say but the Browns might be able to put up some points against the Packers defense. Their passing defense isn't that good, and DeShone Kizer could actually throw an accurate pass to Josh Gordon we could see Gordon go for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Again, I know it sounds nuts, but what Gordon did last week against Casey Hayward isn't really anything to take lightly. The guy shut down all the other top receivers he's gone up against this year and is ranked as the top cornerback this year. Gordon against a struggling Packers secondary screams Kizer's first 300 yard game.

The running game needs to keep on keeping on. And that means Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, and DeShone Kizer. Last week they had just under 100 yards against a really tough defense in the Chargers. Now the Packers run defense is better than their pass defense because of Mike Daniels and Blake Martinez. If the Browns can get a lead and use the run game to win the time of possession it could be a recipe for success.

Browns Defense vs Packers Offense

The Packers will have to start Brett Hundley for one more week. With the help of two defensive touchdowns last week the Packers beat the Buccaneers 26-20 in overtime. In that game Hundley threw for 84 yards and threw one pick. Its fairly obvious that Green Bay misses Rodgers. The key for the Browns this game is to let Hundley beat you with his arm. He's thrown for only five touchdowns in the eight games he's played. And he's also prone to turnovers, throwing eight picks and fumbling three times.

The Browns should key in on stopping the run this week. The Packers have a running back by committee with Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones as their leading rushers. The Browns also can't forget about Hundley scrambling out of the pocket. He has good speed and ran for 66 yards last week in the overtime win.

Five Guys To Watch

1. Josh Gordon: In his first game in almost three seasons Gordon went for four catches for 85 yards. He also went up against the best corner in the league. It should be exciting to see how he plays against a struggling secondary.

2. DeShone Kizer: If it weren't for Kizer the Browns probably would have won last week. Multiple terrible throws to a wide open Josh Gordon and a sack-fumble in the redzone. That's exactly why we lost. But Sunday is another chance to redeem himself.

3. David Njoku: Njoku had a career game last week. Four catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully this means we get to see Njoku on the field more.

4. Joe Schobert: In a game where the Browns need to stop the run Schobert seems like an obvious pick for a guy to watch.

5. Hue Jackson: Let's be 100%...Hue Jackson won the power struggle against Sashi Brown. And with that he has security for 2018.  I'm curious if Jackson starts to change up his playcalling knowing his job is safe going forward. I expect him to go into his bag of tricks this week and have a good game overall.

Injury Report:

Weather Report:

Betting Line (As of 12/7/17)
Packers -3

Browns 24 Packers 14

I know, I'm crazy for picking the Browns but with everything that's happened this week it seems like a game the Browns could accidentally win...the stars are lining up. The Packers are struggling on defense, they don't have Aaron Rodgers, and the Browns have Josh Gordon and a head coach who really doesn't have any pressure on him to win a game since 2018 is already guaranteed.

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