November 30, 2021

Bright Lights Part 2: The Rams are coming to town!

While the Browns got embarrassed in their Week 1 home opener, Week 2 saw the team get a break on Monday Night Football, taking on the heavily undermanned New York Jets, allowing the team to coast to an easy, albeit sloppy, victory.

There will be no such outcome on this Sunday. The defending NFC Champions in the Los Angeles Rams come to Cleveland for a primetime bout. The Rams overall personnel vastly exceeds the Jets in talent, so it will not be an easily fought game.

That said, let’s have a look at how both teams stand coming in:

The Hometown Browns:

The Browns picked up a much-needed win at New Meadowlands on Monday, though the win itself was anything but perfect. Baker Mayfield played rather sluggish, save for an 89-yard scoring connection with Odell Beckham Jr. Mayfield went 19/35 with 325 yards and a TD and interception each. That said, while one could argue Mayfield’s TD came more from Beckham’s speed and athleticism than Mayfield’s throw, as well as having said play largely inflate Mayfield’s yardage total, the same case should be made for Mayfield’s blunder of an interception; it was bred entirely off of a horribly dropped pass, tipped and deflected into a defender.

After missing Monday’s affair, Rashard Higgins has been limited in practice ever since and should be viewed as questionable for Sunday’s game (though he does not have an official designation as of now, per the team’s website). Dontrell Hilliard, who suffered a concussion during Monday’s game, was listed as a full participant in practice this week. David Njoku has already been ruled out for this week’s affair after a brutal hit during Monday’s game caused both a concussion and a wrist injury which could sideline him for some time. Damarious Randall did not suit up on Monday, and is out this weekend, as he has failed to make the practice field this week in any capacity. Finally, Christian Kirksey is out as well with a chest injury and Denzel Ward with a hamstring.

The Browns sit at a 1-1 record, with a brutal month and a half stretch coming up after this game. A win this Sunday would be a massive boon to their playoff hopes moving forward and would easily put to rest any remaining doubts the team has had following a rocky first two weeks of football.

The Visiting Rams:

The Rams defense dominated the Saints, Drew Brees or not, en route to an easy victory in the NFC Championship rematch this past Sunday. Clearly, defense is this team’s strong suit. Everyone knows who Aaron Donald is and he hasn’t disappointed at all thus far, but he’s absolutely not alone. Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews already have two sacks apiece to date, while Cory Littleton both lead the team in tackles (22) and has forced one of the team’s three forced fumbles this season. The selling point that drives the Rams to be the favorites would easily have to be how well their defensive line matches up against Cleveland’s injury-ridden and relatively ineffective offensive line.

Currently, the Rams do have some nagging injuries pestering the team right now. Most notably, the aforementioned Aaron Donald has been limited in practice this week with a back injury, though he doesn’t seem to be in danger of missing this game. Back up running back Malcolm Brown is also dealing with an ankle injury which caused him to be limited on Wednesday, though he did log a full practice on Thursday with no reported setbacks.

At 2-0, the Rams are in good shape thus far, though with division rivals in the 49ers and Seahawks also starting off perfect, the Rams would be tripped up greatly with a loss here and will thus no doubt come ready to go on Sunday night.

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