I’m watching because I want to see the further development of the team’s franchise quarterback and because it’s the Browns. Last week, Cleveland lost to New Orleans 17-10 and Washington lost to San Fransico 37-20. This week the Browns travel to FedEx Field to play the Commanders at 1:00 p.m. (EST). With Cleveland officially out of the playoffs, it’s time to play for pride (I can’t believe I typed that) and to ruin the playoff hopes of their opponents. It’ll take more than 10 points on offense. What am I watching this week?
Browns Offense Vs. Commanders Defense. Washington is currently ranked fourth in the league in total defense, allowing 313 total yards, 199 yards passing, 114 yards rushing and 20.9 points a game. The strength of the Commanders defense is their defensive line which features four first-round draft picks. DE Montez Sweat (seven sacks), DT Daron Payne (9.5 sacks), DT Jonathan Allen (7.5 sacks) and DE Chase Young. They’re led in tackles by middle linebacker Jamin Davis with 95 and in interceptions by safety Darrick Forrest with four. The Browns offensive line will have to play well, especially at the guard and center positions, because Washington brings their best pressure up the middle. Their linebackers are not great in coverage and their secondary plays a lot of cover three and cover four. They play their safeties deep to keep everything in front of them. The Browns will need to roll out quarterback Deshaun Watson and attack the middle of the field by passing to WR Amari Cooper, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and TE David Njoku. Score more than one touchdown and of course, run the ball.
Browns Defense Vs. Commanders Offense. Washington is currently ranked nineteenth averaging 336 total yards, 213 yards passing, 124 yards rushing and 19 points a game. This week it was announced that the starting quarterback for the Commanders would be Carson Wentz even though the team seems to play better when Taylor Heinicke starts. Wentz is 2-4 as a starter in his career. They’re led in rushing by Brian Robinson with 710 yards and in receiving by Terry McLaurin with 1092 yards. Besides McLaurin, Washington has two other talented receivers, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson.
Dotson has caught a touchdown pass in seven straight games. Expect the Commanders to, surprise, run the ball. While the Browns passing defense is ranked second in the league, their rushing defense is ranked last. I want to see a bigger role for linebacker Reggie Ragland in stopping the run. I hope he and Deion jones both start at linebacker. Pressuring Wentz into making mistakes will be the main objective of the defensive line. If the Browns can get any pressure up the middle from DT Jordan Elliott, DT Taven Bryan and DT Perrion Winfrey, DE Myles Garrett should be able to have a good game. It’s uncertain if DE Jadeveon Clowney will play. As for the secondary, keep doing what you’ve been doing the last couple of games.
Finally, the Browns special teams have been playing better. They’re currently ranked eleventh in the league, while the Commanders are ranked nineteenth. Big returns by both Donovan Peoples-Jones and Jerome Ford could help set up the offense to score more than one touchdown. Both teams have negative turnover ratios of -3, so winning the turnover battle is important, the Browns are 4-0 when winning the turnover ratio. Enjoy the game.