It’s once again the beginning of a new era in Cleveland.
Another change in the front office and a controversial wide receiver being released were the big changes to the always changing Cleveland Browns and many may have forgot that there’s a game still to be played this week.
The Cleveland Browns (0-12) will host the Green Bay Packers (6-6) on Sunday and it’s a must win for both teams.
For the Browns, it’s to snap a 13 game losing streak and attempting to avoid the imperfect season.
The team hasn’t quit on Hue Jackson despite a 1-27 mark which is the worst start by a head coach with a team in NFL history but it’s obvious there’s not enough talent but also not enough good coaching by Jackson and his staff.
DeShone Kizer did his occasional “One step forward, two steps back” routine last week against San Diego. His accuracy is a concern which was known dating back to his time at Notre Dame. He currently sits at 52.5% but Jackson said he wants Kizer to get it up to 65%.
I don’t really see it drastically improving in a week or any time throughout his career. Missing receivers like Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman consistently isn’t a recipe for success for a rookie quarterback.
For the Packers, it’s to stay alive in the playoff hunt with quarterback Aaron Rodgers just one week away from a return. They’ve gone 2-4 under Brett Hundley after starting 4-2 with Rodgers before he broke his collarbone against Minnesota on October 15.
They currently sit two games behind Carolina for the final Wild Card spot and a loss to Cleveland on Sunday could end Green Bay’s playoff hopes.
Team Stats (League Rank)
Total Yards: CLE-308.6 ypg (24th), GB-305.9 ypg (25th)
Passing: CLE-202.8 ypg (23rd), GB-197.3 (27th)
Rushing: CLE-105.8 ypg (19th), GB-108.6 ypg (16th)
Scoring: CLE-14.7 ppg (32nd), GB-21.5 ppg (20th)
Total Yards: CLE-327.3 ypg (10th), GB-354.8 ypg (24th)
Passing: CLE-230.3 ypg (17th), GB-242.9 ypg (26th)
Rushing: CLE-96.9 ypg (6th), GB-111.9 ypg (15th)
Scoring: CLE-25.7 ppg (T-26th), GB-23.4 ppg (17th)
Doubtful: S Jabrill Peppers (knee)
Questionable: CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), WR Sammie Coates (knee/ankle), TE Seth DeValve (hip), DE Tyrone Holmes (knee), DT Danny Shelton (Chest/Ribs)
Out: DB Demetri Goodson (hamstring)
Doubtful: DB Davon House (shoulder)
Questionable: DL Quinton Dial (chest/knee), OL Lucas Patrick (hand), LB Nick Perry (foot/shoulder)
Matchup To Watch
Browns CB Jason McCourty vs Packers WR Davante Adams
McCourty has been one of the under the radar free agent signings in the league this season but had a big hiccup against Keenan Allen of the Chargers. When lined up against Allen he gave up 7 catches on 10 targets for 94 yards and a touchdown.
He needs to rebound this week against Packers wide receiver Davante Adams who is one of the underrated receivers in the league and is one Browns fans need to keep an eye on.
Adams is a free agent this upcoming offseason and Cleveland has the money and the immediate need for wide receiver, he could make some serious money this offseason.
Even with the change at quarterback due to injury, Adams’ production has stayed the same. In the six games prior to Rodgers’ injury, Adams was targeted 49 times and caught 28 passes for 339 yards and 5 touchdowns. The last six games he’s been targeted 47 times and caught 31 passes for 405 yards and two touchdowns.
He needs to have a big game to not only help Green Bay win but to also potentially audition for what could be his new home in 2018.
I know this is a game Browns fans have been waiting for since Rodgers went down as a potential victory for Cleveland.
Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening for the Browns. The Packers are hungry and know #12 is close to a return and also know they can make the playoffs and don’t want to let Rodgers not have a shot at the postseason.
It’s a must win for the Packers and I’d think they’re going to come out in full force against a Cleveland team surrounded by chaos, turmoil and controversy despite the mid-week changes.
If Cleveland has any chance at winning, they need to pressure Brett Hundley into some bad throws and also need to run the ball against a Packers defense that gives up over 110 yards per game.
The weather should play somewhat of a factor with chilly temperatures and 15-20 mph winds.
Packers 24 Browns 13