I’d watch the Browns not matter who was starting at quarterback. Last week the Browns lost to the Cardinals and the Broncos lost to the Raiders. Thursday night the Cleveland Browns host the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. What am I watching this week?
Browns Defense Vs Broncos Offense. The Denver offense has been a tale of two seasons. The first three games they feasted on winless teams, the last three games they struggled against good teams. Over that three game span, Denver has allowed 12 sacks and turned the ball over six times. Denver also has the worst third down conversion rate in the league. Bronco QB Teddy Bridgewater has passed for 1514 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. They do have talent on offense in wide receiver Courtland Sutton, tight end Noah Fant and running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. The Browns defense will be healthy minus LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. So far this year he’s been the Browns highest graded defender. It all starts with the defensive line. Last week against the Raiders, Bridgewater was hit 17 times and sacked five times. The Browns rank fourth in total yards, ninth in passing yards allowed and sixth in rushing yards allowed. The Broncos can move the ball between the 20’s, but struggle in the red zone. They are a minus two in turnover ratio. I expect a complete defensive effort by the Browns defense. It was reported today, DE Myles Garrett held a defensive players only team meeting yesterday.
Browns Offense Vs Broncos Defense. The Denver defense is very good. They are third in total yards, fourth in rushing yards, 11th in passing yards and fourth in scoring defense. The Broncos have 14 sacks. LB Von Miller has 4.5 sacks, DE Shelby Harris has one and LB Alexander Johnson has two. In the secondary, Denver has talent, safety Justin Simmons and cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and first round pick Patrick Surtain, III. As for the Browns offense, who’s playing? It was announced Wednesday that QB Case Keenum will start. His last full season in this offense was 2017. He had 22 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a QBR of 98.3. From a clean pocket, he had a 74% completion rate and a QBR of 107. Keenum has several advantages for this game. First, he has a quick release. Second, he likes to use the middle of the field, where in 2017 he had 12 touchdowns, one interception and a QBR of 104. Third, Keenum is familiar with the Browns backup players because of pre-season games. He’s used to handing off to running backs D’Ernest Johnson and John Kelly. Because Denver’s linebackers are not very good in coverage, this would a perfect game for the Browns tight ends to come off the missing persons report. I expect one of the two starting tackles to play, my bet is on LT Jedrick Wills and Odell Beckham to possibly play. All the tight ends should have a good game and this would be the perfect time to unleash RB/WR Demetric Felton.
This is a must win game for the Browns. Weather might be a factor, as will Denver traveling to Cleveland on a short week. Keenum knows the system and knows the Denver defense having played there in 2018. Everyone enjoy the game.