This Monday, the Browns will embark upon their third primetime game in what will be five total games when they take on Jimmy Garrapolo and the San Francisco 49ers.
Cleveland is coming off a huge win last week, while the Niners took the week off, on bye.
What do we have in store this Monday? Let’s have a look:
The Hometown 49ers:
The Niners are currently the last unbeaten team in the NFC, at a 3-0 mark. They’ll have had fifteen total days between games, coming off a Bye Week. The last time the Niners took the field saw them defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a scrappy, ugly 24-20 victory. The Niners were fortunate to come away with any sort of victory at all, with four first-half turnovers, ultimately losing the turnover battle 5-1.
Quarterback Jimmy Garrapolo was still able to salvage a performance of going 23/32 with 277 yards and one touchdown to his two interceptions. Despite that rather lackluster stat line, Garrapolo’s two interceptions were off of drops, tipped in the air and picked, rather than a poor throw or decision made by himself. This means he actually had a pretty solid overall game, aiding his season total of a 5:4 TD:INT ratio, 739 yards and a very solid completion percentage of just under 70%.
In order to win Monday, the 49ers will likely need to overcome a couple of key injuries. Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley hasn’t practiced all week with a fibula injury. Talented d-lineman Dee Ford has also been sidelined this week with quadricep issues.
While their game against Pittsburgh was very tight, the 49ers actually already have two blowout wins under their belts, in Tampa Bay and Cincinnati. After their game against Cleveland, they get a rough road game against the Rams, then travel to our nation’s capital for a meeting with the Redskins. Needless to say, a win on Monday would give the team humongous momentum moving forward and would let them remain as the NFC’s only undefeated team for one more week.
The Visiting Browns:
The Browns are riding a large wave of momentum following a tremendously impactful 40-25 victory in Baltimore last week. Baker Mayfield had a pretty good game, going 20/30 with 342 yards along with a touchdown and an interception each. However, the real headliner came in runningback Nick Chubb; largely contained in the first half, he exploded in the second half and just about won the game on some well-timed blocks and his own explosiveness by themselves. He churned out 20 carries, gaining 165 yards and taking it to the house three times on the day, more than half of that coming on an explosive 88 yarder to essentially put the game out of reach for the Ravens. Finally, Jarvis Landry showed signs of life with a big game, hauling in eight receptions and gathering 167 yards on them. Landry will play on Monday, despite a concussion last week.
Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams have missed two games in a row with hamstring injuries and given that they haven’t practiced this week, they’re both in danger of missing yet another game. Odell Beckham Jr. did come away from the win against Baltimore with a hip issue, but it seems that this issue is in the past, as he has had no issues practicing as a full participant all week. To conclude this injury review, we find that Rashard Higgins (knee) has been a bit limited this week, but will play this Monday.
The Browns’ daunting schedule has been well documented and with this game on Monday, they find themselves right in the thick of it. They face another NFC West team in the Seattle Seahawks at home next week, go on bye, then have what is easily going to be their hardest game of the season in visiting New England. Clearly, they could use a win on Monday, to best weather the storm and retain their lead in the AFC North for another week.